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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by 

John B. Kitchixg, • 
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at TVashmgton. 




% pilgrim of tl)e faitlj is limneb Ijjere 
toitl) bintcb mail mib russet mecbs s'clabb, 
ge turnetl) from loose mirtl) Ijis listless ear, 
^nb leanetl) on tlje crosse toitl) aspect sab. 
Buggeb l)i3 pati), anb narrom anh beset 
ttJitl) peril, sorrom, axxb temptation strong. 
!3ut neither gentle lure, nor bireful threat 
(^an mn l)im to tlje uaine anh toanton throng, 
(£>v force l)is feet from tljat straight patl) asibe, 
iToUotDing tlje footsteps of tl)e crucifieb." 



Teces memorial is written, not to emblazon the 
name of Howard Kitching on the scroll of history, 
or to point him out as a young man who climbed 
heights far above his fellows ; for his modesty was 
equal to his worth, and he would have deprecated 
all praise and shrunk from anything like eulogy ; 
but the rather, while gratifying the expressed 
desire of his many friends, who would not wiU- 
ingiy let his memory die, to give a faint outline of 
the life of one who amid the manifold temptations 
of a soldier's life, was a true and faithful soldier 
of the cross. 

He is but a type of thousands of young men, 
Christian young men, as brave and as true as he, 
who fought and bled and died for their country. 

While we have learned from a terrible experi- 
ence, that war is a great evil, and pray in the 
language of the Liturgy of the English Church, 
" Give peace in our time, Lord," we would not 


forget that fragrant blossoms may spring up on 
the battle-field, and the name of Jesus be glorified 

It is not the exotic nursed in glass and artificial 
heat which is the type of strength ; but the plant 
struggling for existence on bleak cUffs, or the pine 
battling with Alpine gusts, or shivering amid Al- 
pine snows. And while we know, that sadly too 
many young men, tenderly nurtured, and who had 
given hopes of shining brightly in the kingdom of 
Christ at home, tarnished their armor and were lost 
amid the fiery conflicts of army life, yet there were 
others, and they not a few, who were made stronger 
by battling with the blasts of temptation, and 
purified by the scenes of suffering and sorrow they 
were compelled to witness. 

There are fathers and mothers, brothers and 
sisters, throughout our land, whose hearts will beat 
the quicker when they are reminded of their young 
soldier who never returned from the war, and who 
will, we think, find a sad pleasure in reading the 
record of a brief life, so hke that of the one whose 
loss they mourn. 

There are many young men who have experi- 
enced the fever and flush of the fight, many who 
have only heard the story, who, we think, may find 
interest in a sketch of the life of a young man who 


in a terrible crisis of his country's history, faith.- 
fully served his country and his God. 

In dwelling, as we do with pride, on the bravery 
and Christian courage of our soldiers, we have not 
forgotten that the ranks of the Southern army 
were filled with spirits of equal bravery, — noble 
Christian men who were fighting for what they 
thought the right, though we believed them dread- 
fully in the wrong. Their memory is cherished 
by many a fireside in that stricken part of our 
land, and for many of them their record is on 

There is so much that is heart-rending about 
this terrible war, it has broken so many friend- 
ships, severed so many tender ties, that some 
would bury the thought of it in obHvion. But 
that is not the Christian's way of deahng with a 
great sorrow. He seeks to understand the lesson 
the Lord would teach thereby. Oft and again, it is 
now as it was with Elijah. The Lord is not in the 
wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire ; but it 
is in the " still small voice," that comes after all 
these, that He speaks to his servant. So now, 
that the noise and confusion of horrid warfare 
have ceased, from those battle-fields where those 
who once fought as enemies he quietly side by 
side, there comes a still small voice, that speaks of 


Christian forgiveness and Christian love. The 
grave covers all enmities, and we trust and be- 
lieve, the subduing hand of time will soften the 
bitter asperities of the hour, and that our country, 
purified by passing through the furnace, may be 
more united than ever — a grand and glorious 
Christian RepubHc. 



I. Ivw.LY Days ' 

!I. TiiK Pf.epakatiox ^' 

111. 'I'm: CoM-MCT • -^'' 

1\'. Ci.oTDs AM) Sunshine 

V. Ki:fi;ksiiin<; Showkrs 

Vr, TtIE Wir,l)KRXKSS 

\^II TjIK TjiENdlKS 


IX. Till: Last Batti.k 

X. The Discii'i.iNK OK Sri!KUiN<; 

XT. The Vk touy Won 





" A noble boy, 
A brave, free-hearted, careless one. 
Full of unchecked, unbidden joy ; 
Of dread of books, and love of fun ; 
And with a clear and ready smile, 
Unshadowed by a thought of guile." 

^'MOEE tha:^^ OO^^QUEEOR" 


"Then Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One 
thing thou lackest." — Mark x. 21. 

The winter mnd is sighing, and the leaves are 
rustUng their sad requiem over the grave of many 
a young hero, who fell nobly fighting in the great 
war which has just resulted in the regeneration, 
the salvation of our country. In every city, in 
every town and hamlet in the land, on the square 
and in the narrow lane, in hall and cottage, on the 
mountain-side and in the valley, everywhere their 
memories are cherished ; their names are household 
words, embalmed in many a loving heart. 

The shadow has fallen upon a thousand, thou- 
sand homes, of which they were the Hght and the 
joy ; and their youthful patriotism, their deeds of 
daring, will never be known beyond these quiet 

And yet, though unknown to fame, their lives 
have not been wasted — they have not lived in 
vain. O, no ! They have in dying, awakened in 
these mvriad homes an heroic spirit, a breathing, 


living thing, which will exalt and ennoble our 
country, for ages to come. Their stout young 
hearts have ceased to beat, but their example 
walks the earth with tireless feet ; and the blessed 
Christian death of some, may, by the grace of 
God, lead many a young man to enlist, as they 
did, under the banner of the Crucified. | 

Among the many noble, warm-hearted young 
men who flew to the rescue, and offered them- 
selves as volunteers for the defense of the country, 
sealing their offering with their life's blood, there 
are few whose names are enshrined with so much 
love, so many tears, and yet such fervent, grate- 
ful thanks to the wise Disposer of all events, as is 
the subject of these brief memorials. 

The veil would never have been lifted from this 
young life, but in the hope that, by God's bless- 
ing, the noble character here portrayed might be 
the means of awaking in many manly hearts a 
desire to emulate his brief example. 

" Stars are of mighty use ; the night 

Is dark, and long ; 

The road foul, and where one goes right, 

Six may go wrong. 

One twinkling ray 

Shot o'er some cloud, 

May cleare much way 
And guide a crowd." 

John Howard Kitching was born in the city 
of New York, July 16, 1838. 

In his early youth he manifested that earnest- 


ness of purpose, and determination of will, which 
characterized him in later life, and it required a 
firm, but gentle hand to guide him. Like all 
ardent temperaments he had many a struggle with 
himself, and conflict with others, on his way up to 

In the summer of 1855, as his father was 
obliged to go to Europe, and Howard's health 
was not strong, and his studies were being pursued 
in a very miscellaneous and desultory manner, it 
was decided that he should be placed at school in 

The eager boy looked forward, with glowing 
anticipations, to his visit to the old world; not 
less attractive to him because the stormy sea was 
to be crossed. But his day-dreams were soon dis- 
pelled, when, five days out from land, he was seized 
with a severe illness. 

The following letter, written on shipboard, is 
characteristic of him at this time, and is the first 
intimation we have of a struggle with a willful, 
wayward nature, a faint yearning after the things 
of a higher and better life. 

Steamship Ericsson, June 29, 1855. 

My dearest Mamma : — Here we are at last within 
sixty miles of Scilly Isles, and hoping to arrive at Havre 
about four o'clock on Sunday. O, how glad I shall be 
to put foot on land once more, and O, how gladder I 
should be if it was Bay Ridge we were approaching in- 
stead of Havre, for I want to see you all so much. The 
ship has made rather a long passage, on account of a de- 
fect in her wheels, which could not be remedied very 


well at sea I have not been at all sea-sick, but I 

caught a bad cold, and was laid up for a week with in- 
flammation of the bowels, and rheumatism in my limbs. 
But by the excellent care of Dr. Dunham and the kind 
old stewardess, I was up on the sixth day. I would have 
given anything to have been in one of our nice beds, and 
have had you to take care of me ; for, although they 
were all very kind, and did all they could for me, yet I 
could not be very comfortable, as you may imagine. 

I read your Bible all the time, and I am so glad that 
you gave it to me, for I love to read it for your sake, 
hoping that I may learn to read it for its own sake. 

I cannot bear the idea of remaining at Geneva, for I 
feel so wretched (just as I did before I left home), that 
I am very much afraid of being taken sick, and perhaps 
dying there, far away from all of you. And then after 
papa returns, it will be so lonely, and perhaps when I 
return, I might find some of you in your graves. If I 
should return safe and well, and find you all the same, I 
woidd feel as if I had done right in going ; but otherwise, 
how small would be the gain, compared with the feeling 
that I had made our stay together in this world one year 
shorter by my own free will ! 

The truth is that I find it is a great deal farther than 
I had imagined. But still, if papa thinks it best that I 
should stay, I will do so as cheerfully as I can ; for here 
I am, seventeen years old, and yet I have never given 
you and papa anything but trouble ; but by God's bless- 
ing, I will try if I cannot be a comfort instead of a 
trouble, hereafter. For this reason I dislike i^articularly 
to remain, for I may not have much time to atone for 
the many hours of anxiety and trouble that I have given 
you both. 0, mamma, I wish that I was at home to 
talk to you, for I could tell you so much better how I 

I send Fan the first canto of a poem that I am com- 
posing. It is rather of the John Gilpin style, but for a 



first effort, it is rather " some:* I wrote it lying in my 
bunk when it got too dark to read 

The poem which "is rather some," was a parody 
on " Childe Harold," called " Childe Howard," and 
gave infinite amnsement to his sister Fanny. 

This sister, the chosen companion of his laugh- 
ing hours, was full of fun and frolic. With a slight, 
graceful form, and a step light and quick as a deer, 
she was ready to follow wherever he led. Singu- 
larly like him in her frank, impulsive nature ; gifted, 
as he was, with great musical talents ; a sunbeam 
wherever she went — like him, she found an early 
grave ; like him, she sleeps in Jesus. 

By the time that the shores of France began to 
loom in sight, Howard had recovered from his at- 
tack of sickness, but the Lord had prepared for 
him a pathway of disappointment to tread, more 
trying than^ the one just passed over. As they 
were entering the port of Havre, in the excite- 
ment of the scene that opened before him, he 
sprang upon a coil of rope and sprained his ankle. 
The accident was thought slight at the moment, 
but by the time the party reached Pans, he was 
oblig:ed to be carried to his room, where he was 
closely confined for three weary weeks. That his 
impatient spirit should chafe and fret, to be held a 
prisoner in his room, while his companions were 
seeing the wonderful sights of Paris, is not strange. 
We give two letters, to his mother and sister, writ- 
ten immediately on his emancipation from this 



Paris, July 16, 1855. 

Dear Louise : — Here I am, seventeen years old, 
crawling around on crutches as if I were eighty, and the 
worst of it is, without any jDrospect of dispensing with 
them for a while, at any rate. Yesterday morning I 
thought that I was better, but to-day I am just as lame 

as ever Last evening, papa, Will, and I went 

to church in a small Wesleyan Chapel in the Rue 
Royale, where we heard an excellent sermon. The 
Sundays here are more like our Fourth of July than , 
anything else ; everybody is out, rich and poor ; most 
of the shops, and all the cafes are o\)Qn, also the Ex- 
hibition, theatres, circuses, and all the public buildings. 

The gentleman that we heard preach is a Yorkshire- 
man, just come over; but he preached a very good ser- 
mon from First Corinthians seventh chapter, twenty- 
ninth, thirtieth, and thirt3^-first verses. But during the 
whole service we could hear the carriages passing, people 
singing, and men and women peddling fruit; rather a 
noisy Sunday evening, wasn't it ? . . , . 

Paris, July 25, 1855. 

Mr DEAREST Mamma : — Three cheers ! Hurrah ! 
I'm on my legs again, although a little stiff yet, I assure 
you. As soon as the Doctor went away (which was on 
Saturday morning), I began to walk a little, and my 
foot kept gaining strength, so that on Sunday I walked 
to church and back, without crutches On Mon- 
day I climbed to the top of the column in the Place 
Vendome, one hundred and thirty-five feet in height. 
I guess the Doctor would stare if he knew it. On 
Saturday I was limping about on a pair of crutches, 
and Monday running up one hundred and seventy-six 
steps to get a view of Paris. Ask ]Mr. Irving if it is 
easy work for even a well man to accomplish ? I dare 


say he has beeu to the top, or at least he knows how 
high it is. 

Alleume and I went to St. Germain to see the won- 
derful terrace, one mile and a half in length, and we 
had a ride on an atmospheric railway. There is a very 
steep grade on the road, which a locomotive cannot sur- 
mount, so they have a large iron tube running between 
the rails, in which a piston passes which is connected to 
the foremost car. Then they pump out the air from in 
front of said piston, and away the train goes up hill 
at the rate of thirty miles an hour. That's going be- 
fore the wind with a vengeance, isn't it ? When we 
arrived at St. Germain we were fully paid for going, 
for from the terrace, one has the most beautiful view in 

The result of the inquiries about the schools in 
Switzerland was not altogether satisfactory, and 
when the time came for Mr. Kitching to start for 
home, he could not make up his mind to leave 
Howard beliind, and after. a pleasant passage, they 
were welcomed back to " Dellwood." 

He now resumed his studies with his German 
tutor, but they were pursued in a very irregular 
and desultory way, his passion for riding, boating, 
painting, and music, making formidable inroads 
upon his time. 

He sang well, with that deep, clear voice that 
rang so musically on the battle-field, but his great 
delight was the cornet, which he played remark- 
ably well. He joined a quartette band, and on 
many a moonlight night they waked the echoes 
in the grove at Dellwood with their dehcious mel- 
ody. How well his companions of those pleasant 


days must remember his enthusiasm, and the warm 
glow his presence diffused over that genial com- 
pany ! 

But while thus beguiling his time amid these 
earthly enjoyments, those who prayerfully watched 
his career saw that he was getting farther and far- 
ther away from the source of all true joy. Those 
things which never satisfied any one, did not satisfy 
him. He grew more wayward, more self-willed ; 
gave way to wild bursts of passion, and then had 
seasons of bitter repentance. He knew the better 
way, but chose the worse, the beaten pathway of 
self-indulgence. But there is often the secret sigh, 
the whispered prayer, the longmg for freedom, the 
struggle with sinful habits, the search after truth, 
the untold hope of better things, in many hearts 
which we, in our ignorance, suppose to be hard and 
dead. The Lord Jesus may be doing His own work, 
in the awakened, inquiring, iDurdened soul, and 
what is buried seed to-day, may become a glorious 
harvest in His own good time. So with young 
Howard ; during this period of his life, there were 
bright gleams of better things, deeds done and 
words spoken, that sustained the anxious hearts of 
those who watched and prayed. 

In the summer of 1856, through the carelessness 
of our quarantine officers, the yellow fever was 
introduced to the shores of Fort Hamilton and Bay 
Ridge. Young Kitching's family, with others, 
were compelled to leave their home, but he, with 
his natural fearlessness, insisted on remaining with 


an aunt and the domestics, to look after tilings 

It was a solemn and fearful season. The sun 
poured down with its burning, garish shine, day 
after day ; not a cloud was in the sky ; there was 
a hush in the air ; the fi,elds were deserted ; and the 
stillness was seldom broken, but as the dead were 
carried out. 

Sobered by the " pestilence that walketh in 
darkness, and the destruction that wasteth at noon- 
day," with time for serious thoughts, the Lord 
visited him then and there, and the Holy Spirit 
touched his heart. A letter to his eldest sister at 
this time, to whom every thought of his heart was 
always unveiled, shows the melancholy state of his 
mind, as he asks, " If I am called away, Avhat shall 
I do to be^ saved ? " 

I had been the rector of the parish for more 
than a year. I had watched Howard's vacillating 
course, saw his danger, and, admiring his noble 
gifts, greatly desired that they might be con- 
secrated to the service of the Lord. There was a 
voice, as we have said, in the breath of the pesti- 
lence ; a voice, piercing like a sharp, two-edged 
sword, and the stubborn soul quailed under the 
power of God's word ; but in the absence of plain- 
spoken confession, and prayer for divine suc- 
cor, and some decisive movement in the right direc- 
tion, the strange sound seemed to die away, and he 
returned, like a willing prisoner, to the charmed 
circle where softer melodies were heard. 


But his conscience was no longer to be lulled to 
sleep by any music of earth. He had heard the 
Shepherd's voice. He fought against the call with 
all the might of his strong nature. Long into the 
night, after the midnight hour, we sat up and 
talked. His feet were planted on that dreary legal 
ground, that he was not good enough to come to 
Christ ; and as his impatient temper constantly led 
him into inconsistencies, every day seemed to re- 
move him farther from the Lord. 

But still the Shepherd called, and Howard lis- 
tened. In a little book, a present from his mother, 
called " Spiritual Songs," which he carried with 
him throughout the war, we find marked with his 
peculiar mark those beautiful, familiar lines of 
Bonar, which exactly describe his experience at this 
time. He doubtless had this period in view when 
he marked the passage : — 

" I was a wandering sheep, 
I did not love the fold ; 
I did not love my Shepherd's voice, 
I would not be controlled. 

" I was a wayward child, 

I did not love my home ; 
I did not love my Father's voice, 
I loved afar to roam. 

" The Shepherd sought His sheep, 
The Father sought His child ; 
They followed me o'er vale and hill, 
O'er desert, waste, and wild. 


" They found me nigh to death, 
Famished, and faint, and lone ; 
They bound me with the bands of love, 
They saved the wandering one ! 

" They washed my filth away, 

They made me clean and fair ; 
They brought me to my home in peace. 
The long-sought wanderer ! " 

Yes, the " long-sought wanderer," after many a 
conflict, many a doubt, found rest in the precious 
assurance, " The blood of Jesus Christ his Son 
cleanseth from all sin." His heart was calmed by 
the conviction that God had found a ransom, and 
that He reveals that ransom to us sinners, in order 
that we might rest therein, on the authority of His 
word, and by the grace of His Spirit. He was sat- 
isfied, at -last, of the truth, that righteousness is 
not founded upon our feelings or experience, but 
upon the shed blood of the Lamb of God ; and 
hence, that our peace is not dependent upon our 
feehngs or experience, but upon the same precious 
blood, which is of changeless efficacy, and change- 
less value in the judgment of God. 

Blessed victory of faith in the blood of the Lamb ! 
We do not mean to say that there was never a re- 
treat or discomfiture in his spiritual warfare after 
this. He had many a reverse, but the blessed 
truth, that " The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth 
from all sin," was the rallying cry that brought 
him back to victory. 

On the 7th of June, 1857, Howard Kitching en- 


listed openly under the banner of Jesus. It was 
on one of those bright, pure days of June, when 
the breeze makes such laughing music among the 
trees, and the sunshine quivers beneath with such 
moving glory, and earth is like the vestibule of 
heaven, that he knelt at the chancel of that pic- 
turesque little church, and with all his family, but 
the two younger children, partook of his first com- 
munion. It was a time never to be forgotten by 
those who had prayed that this hour might come, 
an hour that has been written down by the record- 
ing angel in the Book of Remembrance. We never 
doubted for a moment, amid the lights and shad- 
ows of his changeful after life, that this was a sin- 
cere and earnest consecration of heart and life to 
the blessed service of his Lord and Master. 

The time had now come for him to choose his 
profession or business, and having spent many sum- 
mers with his family at West Point, and witnessed 
with great delight and peculiar interest the train- 
ing of our cadets there, his early love of military 
life returned, and gave coloring to his thoughts as 
the various pursuits of life were presented. But 
his deep love for his mother, and her decided op- 
position to a military or naval education for him, 
settled that question, and he engaged m business 
with his father. 

In the summer of 1860, he was united in mar- 
riage with Miss Harriet Ripley, daughter of Frank 
Ripley, Esq. The ceremony took place in Christ 
Church, Brooklyn, where he had attended Sun- 
day-school as a boy. 


In the autumn alarming symptoms of pulmonary- 
difficulty began to develop themselves, and his 
father sent him to travel through the South, hop- 
ing that he might be benefited by change of air. 
He found the country all in a ferment, and very 
little chance of giving to his trip anything of a 
business character. From Florence, S. C, he 
writes : — 

"There is no business doing. The hotels and rail- 
road cars are all empty, as far as Northerners are con- 
cerned, and in fact the whole country seems to be in the 
greatest state of excitement. 

" I hear that the laws are even more stringent in Geor- 
gia and Alabama, than in this State ; Northerners being 
invited to leave, or, as Amos would say, ' make them- 
selves seldom,' without regard to name, rank, occupation, 
or anything else. I have no doubt that these accounts 
are all more-~or less exaggerated, but still people from 
the North are all going home (I mean business men), as 
they cannot do anything. T do not see how all this can 
affect our affairs, for I carry no samples, but am simply 
travelling for my health ; but as I have been warned not 
to carry any pamphlets or cards in my trunk, you need 
not be surprised at my being put in ' qiiod ' for six 
months. I am in for it now, so if you think it advisa- 
ble, I will start next Monday for Montgomery, stopping 

at Atlanta, on the way I hardly know why I am 

so contented to-night, for I am as homesick as the mis- 
chief; but I think that it must be because I try always 
to begin the day right. I felt pretty badly this morn- 
ing, when I found how things were, but I asked Jesus to 
help me, and it seems as though the parts of the engine 
almost went together of their own accord. Everything 
seems to go right ; well, I must except the prog, but we 
are past the days of miracles, and this place is decidedly 
' harder ' than the wilderness of the Red Sea ever was." 


From this place Howard went to New Orleans, 
and his health not improving, he hastened home, 
traveUing day and night. 

This winter, while the clouds were gathering 
blackness at the South, and the distant rumbling of 
the thunder gave token of the coming tempest that 
was to sweep over the land for four long years, he 
remained quietly at his home on the banks of the 
Hudson. As his health was still too deUcate to 
allow him to attend closely to business, when not 
busy with his pencil, he was scouring the country 
on horseback, leading that active out-door life, 
which was fitting him for the hard soldier life, 
which, hidden from view, was lying just before 

How impenetrable the thick curtain which hangs 
between us and the morrow ! How unconsciously 
we pass the turning pomts in our hves which shape 
our future destiny ! How the Lord leads his chil- 
dren by a way they know not ! 


" And I will bring the blind by a way that they know 
not ; I will lead them in paths that they have not known : 
I will make darkness light before them, and crooked 
thino-s straight. These things will I do unto them, and 
not forsake them." — Isaiah xlii. 16. 


" Throughout the land there goes a cry: 
A sudden splendor fills the sky ; 
From every hill the banners burst, 
Like buds by April breezes nurst; 
In every hamlet, home, and mart, 
The fire-beat of a single heart 
Keeps time to strains whose pulses mix 
Our blood with that of seventy-six! " 

Bayard Taylor. 

The canBon which opened upon Fort Sumter 
awoke strange echoes, and touched forgotten chords 
in the American heart. American loyalty, which 
had slumbered so long that many thought it dead, 
leaped into instant life, and stood radiant and 
ready for the fierce encounter. No creative art 
has ever woven into song a story more tender in 
its pathos, or more stirring to the martial blood than 
the scenes that then transpired. From one end of 
the land to the other, in the crowded streets of 
cities, and in the solitude of the country, wherever 
our bright flag was flung to the breeze, there were 
shouts of devotion and pledges of aid, which gave 
glorious guarantee for the perpetuity of Ameri- 
can freedom. Wives dashed aside their grief, and 
gave up their husbands ; mothers, with smothered 


sobs, gave up their sons ; sisters gave their brothers 
to the great cause. JVIillions of freemen ralKed to 
the rescue. 

War is a dreadful evil. Its horrors, we have 
seen, cannot be exaggerated. But war has its 
gains as well as its losses. If it calls out in baser 
natures some of the worst and most deviUsh passions 
of the human heart, it kindles in others elevating 
and ennobling sentiments of duty and self-sacrifice, 
which otherwise they would not at all, or would 
have very feebly known ; lessons are learned in 
this stern school which would never have been 
learned in any other, but which no nation can af- 
ford to forego. For indeed, what would a nation 
be, over which for century after century the great 
anguish and agony of war, with all its elevating 
emotions and purifying sorrows, had never passed ? 
How mean, how sordid, how selfish, would the 
whole spirit and temper of such a nation become, 
its heart unmanned, its moral nerves and sinews 
unstrung ! O, no, the nations cannot do without 
the severe discipline of this terrible thing. For 
nations, as little as individuals, can do without 
tribulation ; and what is war but tribulation, on an 
enormous scale, and visiting, not as at other times, 
this household, and then this, but visiting hundreds 
and thousands of households, and bringing to them 
distress and anguish at the same instant. Fearful 
remedy as it must needs be esteemed, war is a 
remedy against worse evils, — sloth, selfishness, 
love of ease, contempt of honor, worship of mate- 


rial things ; all wliich, but for it, would invade 
and occupy the heart of a people, and at length 
eat out that heart altogether. 

And as the reactive influence which war exer- 
cises on a nation generally, that undertakes it in a 
righteous cause, is exalting, ennobling, purifying, 
so still more marked is its influence often upon 
those who are directly engaged in it. Some, of 
course, are hardened and brutalized by their famil- 
iarity with suffering, by the necessity which they 
often lie under of themselves inflicting it ; but 
many also there are, like " The Happy Warrior " 
of the poet, 

"Who doomed to go in company with pain 
And fear and bloodshed, miserable train, 
Turn-4lieir necessity to glorious gain ; " 

and who are only made more tender and more gen- 
tle thereby. 

Howard Kitching was of this number, who, as 
he ripened for glory, through the discipline of 
suffering, grew more tender and more gentle by 
his ministry of love, for four years, among the 
wounded and the dying. 

When the clarion notes of preparation rang 
through the land after the fall of Sumter, his heart 
was stirred within him, and he resolved to devote 
himself to the service of his country. But the 
struggle before he took the step was long and se- 
vere. His lungs were weak, and though light of 
foot, and as bold a rider as ever, he was not strong , 


the home ties were never stronger, — the love of 
wife and child was woven now into their bright 
texture. How Avell has one of our sweetest poets 
pictured the struggle. 

" ! do not cling to me and cry, 
For it will break my heart ; 
I'm sure you'd rather have me die 
Than not to bear my part. 

" You think that some should stay at home 
To care for those away ; 
But still I'm helpless to decide 
If I should go or stay. 

" I feel — I know — I am not mean ; 
And though I seem to boast, 
I'm sure that I would give my life 
To those who need it most. 

"Perhaps the Spirit will reveal 
That which is fair and right ; 
So, Marty, let us humbly kneel 
And pray to Heaven for hght." 

And so they knelt and prayed, and the light 
came down upon the path which led from home to 
the battle-field. 

He went down to New York, and immediately 
enrolled himself with the Lincoln cavalry. After 
drilling with them for several weeks, they were or- 
dered to the seat of war, but family circumstances 
prevented his leaving with them. Shortly after- 
wards he received a captain's commission in the 
2d New York Light Artillery. 


At this time commenced his intimacy with Alex- 
ander Doull, the major of the regiment, a yomig 
Englishman, who had served with great distinction 
in the Crimea. He was a true soldier, a young 
man of real genius, and his friendship was of great 
value to the new recruit. 

In September the regiment was sent down to 
Elm Park, Staten Island, where they were en- 
camped, and employed in drilling and recruiting. 
One of our autumn storms set in one night, and 
the tents were nearly all swept away. The next 
morning Howard Kitching and Major Doull came 
clattering up to the door of the rectory, their 
clothes dripping, their horses smoking and panting, 
and they sprang to the ground with such a merry 
shout, it seemed more like the return of a pleasure 
party, than two young men, who had been deli- 
cately reared, coming from a night's exposure to 
wet and cold, and half famished. 

And this Avas one of the common pictures to be 
met with every day, during the first years of the 
war. Mere boys, who had scarcely left their moth- 
er's side, enduring hardships like veteran soldiers. 
It was a S23lendid exhibition of the pluck and man- 
liness of our American youth. 

As orders were received from Washington that 
the regiment should get ready to start, Howard re- 
paired to Peekskill, to have his little boy baptized. 
That baptism will never be forgotten. It was 
sweet and solemn and sad, a consecrated hour, a 
blessed parting scene. He brought his boy with- 


in the shelter of the covenant, and left him encom- 
passed by the sure shelter of the promises, and be- 
neath the canopy of prayer. 

We then read our favorite Psalm, the ninety- 
first, that sweetest song of David, that Howard 
loved so well, and so frequently alludes to in his 
letters, and then we knelt in a parting prayer. 

The encampment of the 2d Artiller}^ was the 
first foreshadowing the people of that part of the 
Island had had of the war. In a gently sloping 
field by the roadside, the white camp flashed in the 
sunlight ; the streets between the tents were carpeted 
with grass, and the measured tread of the sentinels, 
and the shrill fife, echoed through the day and night. 

This was the holiday side of the war which 
might be seen in every part of the land. 

On the 7th of November, the tents were struck. 
It was a wild, gusty day, and very cold. The 
transition from the picturesque scene of the day 
before, when the sun was shining brightly on 
the well ordered camp, to the gloomy day and the 
confusion when the tents went down, was very strik- 
ing. The men had been paid off, and were many 
of them intoxicated. 

As we drove up to witness the departure of the 
troops, we saw young Howard mounted on that 
spirited gray horse which carried him through the 
whole war, spurring and dashing among the debris 
of camp life, and heard his voice ringing out loud 
and clear, giving his orders, as he attempted to 
make his men fall into line. The slight form 


seemed to expand, and the boyish face to grow 
older, under the sense of responsibihty, and as we 
marked his self-possession and commanding air, as 
he controlled those half -intoxicated men, we had 
no misgivings as to his fitness for the work that 
the Lord had given him to do for his comitry. 

Just before the order to march was given, he 
was surrounded by the wives and sisters of the 
men of his company, and though harassed by the 
dijB&culties of his novel position, he had a word of 
cheer for each. We remember one old gray-headed 
man, pressing his way through the crowd, and with 
tears in his eyes begging Howard to be kind to his 
boy. The harassed and excited look passed away 
from his face at once, as he put his hand on the old 
man's shoulder, and promised him that he would 
look after his son. 

And we may be sure that he did watch over that 
boy, for we have abundant evidence of his thought- 
ful consideration for his men, — boldly censuring 
them when they neglected their duties, counseling 
them in trouble, and writing letters for those who 
could not write, to their wives and friends. 

The regiment, on reaching Washington, was 
sent to garrison Forts Ward and Ellsworth. The 
following letters from the latter place give a pic- 
ture of his life there. It is the hoKday soldier's 
life, when the '^ pomp and circumstance of war" 
are felt, and creature comforts asked for. But as 
the stern conflict goes on and the terrible reality 
thickens around him, we see the noble qualities of 


the true soldier shine forth, and through the same 
disciphne of hardship and danger the better and 
stronger characteristics of the Christian developed. 

Fort Ellsworth, November 18, 1861. 

Dear Papa : — I have been trying for some days to 
write a line to you, but have had no time, having been 
moved about from place to place — always on the march, 
and never at rest. 

Now we are in Fort Ellsworth, things have a much 
more comfortable look, and we are hoping that we may 
be allowed to remain for a month at least, as we have fn 
the fort a battery of six-pounders, enabling us to drill 
every day. 

Fort Ellsworth, you remember, was built by the 
Ellsworth Fire Zouaves when they first entered Vir- 
ginia. It is a very fine piece of work on a splendid 
commanding position, overlooking Washington, Alex- 
andria, and all the surrounding country, for fifteen or 
twenty miles. 

When we came in here on Friday evening, it was oc- 
cupied by four hundred " man-of-war's-men ; " in fact, a 
complete frigate's crew, — and they have been spending 
the past two months in putting the fort in complete or- 
der, just as sailors do, sodding, and whitewashing every- 
thing, and planting evergreens, until the inside of the 
works is the very picture of neatness ; and if we were 
in barracks instead of these miserable tents, so that we 
could keep warm, we should be very comfortable and 

Our tents are very cold in this winter weather, and as 
our brilliant quarter-master managed to lose all my blan- 
kets, as also Major DoulFs, we have suffered a good deal 
from cold. I took a severe cold, sleeping on the ground 
one rainy night, but am now getting very much better, 
and as we shall soon have plenty of blankets, I hope I 


shall not take cold again. In fact, as I was weighed oni 
Saturday, and weighed one hundred and forty-eight pounds,. 
I think I am not much the worse for wear as yet. 

Yesterday I was ordered out on picket duty, and five 
of us went out on the road leading to Fairfax Court 
House, considerably beyond our last picket, and I have- 
now a better idea of the state of things on our frontier 
lines than I ever had before. 

The roads are all barricaded, with squads of men 
posted behind the barricades ; single and double pickets 
on every hill, and at every bridge and house ; all the 
woods on our side the lines cut down so as to form an, 
entanglement, and trees felled across the roads. 

In our circuit we approached as near as was altogether 
safe, to the great pine woods you read so much of in the 
papers, where our pickets are shot daily, and where, by 
the way. Captain Todd, one of my old friends of the Lin- 
coln Cavalry, was shot last Thursday, with thirty or 
forty of his men. 

You must try to come on here for two or three days,, 
before the army makes a march, for I know that youi 
would be very much interested in matters and things,, 
and it would give you a realizing sense of the war, which 
you have never had. 

My gray horse is a most magnificent animal. He is 
just as well broken as Mac, is as bold as a lion, will 
jump anything and go anywhere, and in fact, is the ad- 
miration of all Secessiondom. I was offered two hun- 
dred and fifty dollars for him by my old friend Hidden,, 
of the Lincoln Cavalry 

Fort Ellsworth, November 18, 1861. 
.... Everything is so changed since I passed through; 
this part of the country last spring. All along the line 
of the railroad from Baltimore to Washington, pickets 
are posted, every bridge is guarded, every depot sur- 
rounded by sentries, and in fact it is very difiicult to 


'realize that one is passing through our free, happy coun- 
itry. Indeed, if you could stand with me on the ramparts 
of our fort, and look around over the surrounding coun- 
try, every hill crowned with a breastwork or fortification?, 
and every valley holding a camp, or camps, with martial 
music sounding on every side, you would find it hard to 

believe that we were not in some fairy land 

Give my best love to dearest mamma, and all the 
•dear ones. Tell mamma that anything in the shape of 
•cookies, gingersnaps, pickles, or anything good, will be 
very acceptable, as we are just now in a position to en- 
joy such things, being able to procure only simple pork 
and potatoes for our officers' mess. Kiss J. H. K., Jr. ! 

Fort Ellsworth, Wednesday Evening, November 20. 

.... Your letter reached me this evening, just as I 
returned from a long, long day in the saddle, having been 
over at Bailey's cross-roads, at the grand review by Mc- 

Clellan of all the troops in this neighborhood 

I wish you could just look in upon us for one day ; you 
would then Imve such a realizing sense of the change in 
my daily life since last year at this time. Up at six 
'O'clock in the morning, making out my morning report 
of the condition of things in the fort, to hand in to the 
'headquarters of Brigadier -general Franklin before nine 
■o'clock ; then drilling and working at the gims till dinner- 
time, beside superintending the police force necessary to 
dear up the grounds in and about the fort ; then in the 
■afternoon we have company drill and dress parade, which 
■occupies the time till dark. Being second in command in 
Ihe fort, gives me of course a great deal more to attend 
to than if I only had my own company to look after. I 
•do not complain of my busy life, as I find it well suited 
to my temperament, but only tell you that ^you may 
have some idea of the manner in which I spend my time. 

Now I suppose you will like to hear about the splen- 
did review, and first I will tell you how I got there. I 


had another invitation to ride on General Franklin's staff 
to-day, which was a great honor, and just as I had fixed 
myself and the gray up in great style, I discovered that 
the horse was dead lame, having sprained his leg in some 
way, during the night. You can easily imagine how 
annoyed I was, for I am exceedingly proud of the gray, 
and wanted very much to show him at the review. 
Major Doull having bought Mac and intending to go, I 
did not know what to do for a horse, particularly as I 
knew that everything in the shape of horse-flesh would 
be in demand, as is always the case on review days. 
But as I had determined to go, and had told some of the 
officers a few days before that I would never be stuck for a 
horse, I started for the nearest cavalry encampment as 
well as Gray could carry me, which was very slow, for 
he is very lame. 

Well, I rode into the camp, and jumping from my 
horse as if in the greatest hurry, with my sword and 
spurs clanking, and making as much fuss as I could, I 
ordered some of the men standing around, to bring me 
their best horse, as my horse had hurt himself, and you 
would have hurt yourself laughing if you could have 
seen them hurry to change my saddle. Well, I mounted ; 
and 0, what a rip to ride on a field, rear, plunge, kick, 
do anything rather than go along the road as I wished 
him to ; but still he was better than none, for / got 
there, and saw the most magnificent sight which I ever 
witnessed ; seventy thousand men, infantry, cavalry, and 
artillery, spread over an immense plain, their bright 
bayonets glistening in the sun, the bands playing splen- 
didly, cannon roaring from one side of the plain to the 
other, and in fact, words will not describe the splendid 
appearance which so large an army makes when drawn 
up in line of battle. 

McClellan, McDowell, Franklin, Blenker, Smith, and 
all the other military big bugs were there. McClellan 
is a splendid little fellow, very light built, a good horse- 
man, and rides a fine blood horse. 


From the fact of an order having been issued that the 
troops should appear on the field with knapsacks packed, 
and with four days' rations, and above all that they had 
been supplied with twenty-five rounds of ball cartridge, 
and the ambulances accompanied by the various surgeons 
belonging to the respective regiments were on the ground, 
the feeling was very strong with almost every one that 
McClellan meditated an advance, and that the review 
was only one way of assembling the troops without its 
becoming public that he intended to move forward. To 
say the least it was something of an experiment, assem- 
bling the whole strength of the army on one field when 
the enemy are posted in great numbers within ten miles. 

Doull and I had resolved that in case there was a 
fight we would see the fun, and although I was so badly 
mounted, I must confess that I was sorry when the day 
passed away without any aj^pearance of the enemy. . . . 

Fort Ellsworth, Sunday Evening, November 24. 

.... I am pretty tired, having been out to general 
inspection all the morning, and working at headquarters 
of General Franklin all the afternoon under orders from 
Colonel Burtnett. 

.... You will think that my Sundays are unsuita- 
bly spent, and indeed I find it very hard to remember 
even that it is Sunday, — no church to go to, nothing to 
mark the day from any other, except extra parade in the 
morning. If anything, I am more busy than on any 
other day, as the men seem to feel that they are at lib- 
erty to bother me all day long for " passes " to go out of 
camp ; and if any friends from the various camps desire 
to visit me, they invariably choose Sunday. I try very 
hard, however, to keep the day as I should, knowing 
that a man can be just as much a Christian when on duty 
at the head of his troops as in his quiet home 

On Thanksgiving Day, the 28th of November, 
Howard received orders to move with two com- 


[>iinies to " Fort Worth," in Virginia, and the let- 
ters that follow relate to his life while there. 

FoKT Worth, Va., December 3, 1861. 

My dearest L : I received your lovely letter, 

and would have answered it immediately, but that I was 
taken sick the day after I got it, and have been sick ever 

We received orders late Wednesday night to move 
our two companies which had been guarding Fort Ells- 
worth to Fort Worth, the next morning, Thanksgiving 
Day. So we were obliged to give up our comfortable 
quarters, and take up our line of march for an unfinished 
earthwork, on the outskirts of our line of fortifications ; 
where instead of spending our time drilling on the 
guns, and teaching our men something useful, we are 
forced to take up our axes and shovels, and go to work 
upon the Fort. 

In Ellsworth we had very nice quarters within the 
works, and everything convenient, and were able to crib 
a little time every day to ourselves. Here we are en- 
camped on a side hill, outside the work, the mud about 
eight inches deep, very little to eat, and plenty of work. 
If you could just look in upon us now, and see how I 
live, you would scarcely believe your eyes. 

Major DouU has not, as yet, received his tents, and 
he and I have to occupy the same tent, which of course 
is pitched right in the mud, such things as boards for 
flooring being quite unheard of, and it is so full of trunks, 
cooking utensils, our beds, etc., besides our saddles, which 
we have to keep there, having no stable, that it is almost 
impossible to move around. 

We almost froze the first night, and as I was sick in 
bed, and felt the cold very much, we foraged around and 
found a little cast-iron stove, which we rigged up in the 
tent, and except that we were smoked out like two wood- 
chucks nine or ten times in twenty-four hours, we were 
more comfortable. 


Then our " Bill of Fare," my ! I told the boys this 
morning when we succeeded in getting our morning meal 
(a piece of government beef and a tin cup of coffee) at 
one o'clock, after running around in the cold and snow 
for three or four hours, that I thought I would give 
about one month's pay to have one good meal at home. 
You must not think that we complain, however 

FoKT Worth, Wednesday Evening, December 11. 

.... Since writing my last letter, Beauregard has 
advanced to Fairfax Court House with (they say) seven- 
ty-six thousand men. Fairfax is between eight and nine 
miles from here, and as the enemy's outposts are thrown 
out about three and a half miles ahead of his main body, 
we begin to feel as though our fort was a pretty impor- 
tant position, being the centre upon which our forces 
must rest in case they are attacked. We have fortu- 
nately gotten everything in perfect order ; our men and 
ourselves can work the guns (big and little) beautifully, 
and having plenty of ammunition and a good well just 
finished, we think we could stand a pretty good siege. 

Last night at eleven o'clock, those of us who were up, 
were very much excited by discovering that the brigade 
under General How^ard, numbering some five thousand 
men, were leaving their camps and taking up their line 
of march towards Fairfax. So suddenly and so quietly 
was it done, that unless we had been watching for some 
movement, we would never have suspected but that the 
thousands in the valley below us were wrapped in sleep. 

For the first time I saw an army, roused suddenly from 
sleep without any previous order, march out in perfect 
silence to meet the enemy. It was as beautiful a sight 
as my eyes ever beheld. Our position is on a very high 
and steep hill, having something the same effect as the 
view from Catskill, and as the different regiments left 
their camps and filed out into the plain below, their bay- 
onets glistening in the unusually brilliant light of the 


moon, and the murmur of their whispered orders came 
up to lis like the hum of a bee, I became tremendously 
excited, and realized for the first time the feeling which 
prompts men to such feats of daring on the battle-field. 

To give you some idea of the celerity with which a 
camp can be put in motion, from the moment when the 
first order to march was received, to the time when the 
order to move was given, just sixteen minutes had elapsed ; 
four regiments of infantry and two batteries of light ar- 
tillery having been got in readiness during that time. 
DouU was in command of the fort, and consequently 
could not leave, so I silently saddled " Gray Billy," and 
started for " better or for worse," just to see how things 
were managed. I joined one of the light artillery batter- 
ies, and accompanied them along the road till we were 
ordered to halt, and the captain formed his battery across 
the road to act as a reserve, in case the other force which 
pushed on ahead, were driven back. 

I remained till about four o'clock in the morning, 
learning all~I could, and posting myself regarding bat- 
tery manoeuvers, and then, as no enemy appeared, and I 
was obliged to relieve my guard at the fort at four o'clock, 
I returned. You can imagine that it is very galling to 
me to be thus tied down in a fort, instead of having my 
light guns and being in the field, but I do not see how 
it can be helped for a while, as Uncle Sam has not guns 
enough to equip the batteries now in the field. I have 
the promise, however, of Brigadier-general Barry (the 
chief of artillery) that my battery shall be the Jirst 

Since recovering from my bilious attack, I have been 
very much better, and am in fact, becoming as tough and 
hardy as an Indian. Major Doull and I sleep without 
a fire, and I do not know what I should do now, if put 
suddenly into a house, with warm fires and soft beds. 

Tell J that I have attempted many times to write to 

him, and to thank him for the magnificent glass which 


he sent me. The glass is extra fine, and is most useful 

to me 

Fort Worth, Sunday, December 21, 1861. 

.... My darling H : As I now write, another 

poor fellow from the Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania is be- 
ing brought to his last resting-place, on the httle knoll 
behind my tent. 

You will remember that I wrote you about the little 
grave-yard where they laid the poor fellow who was shot 
some two weeks ago, and where several of our pickets 
are lying, who have been shot at various times. We 
turned out our companies last week, and put a little rustic 
fence around it, and the place looks really pretty, only 
so lonely, and reminds one so strongly of the realities of 
war, lying, as it does, directly under the guns of our fort ; 
their black muzzles seeming to point directly upon the 
new-made graves. AVhen I began to write, the band 
was playing (with muffled drums) Pleyel's Hymn, the 
comrades of the deceased singing a hymn (I caimot 
quite catch the words), and now they have just fired three 
volleys over him, and " left him alone in his glory." 

I took about two hundred and fifty of the men down 
to the camp of the Fourth Rhode Island regiment this 
morning, to attend service, as we have no chaplain ; and 
although it was very cold standing in the cold wind, still 
I enjoyed the service very much. The chaplain is an 
Episcopalian, and it was so natural to hear our beautiful 
service again, for I have not been able to attend church 
before since I left home. 

We closed with " Old Hundred," men and officers join- 
ing in ; and I sang so loud that I am sure Jeff. Davis 
heard me at Centreville, fifteen miles off; and thought 
that Henry Ward Beecher was upon him with all his 

We find him, in the following extracts, looking 
back, with a yearning heart, to the home joys of 


Christmas tide — the time of pleasant gatherings, 
and sweet and hallowed memories. Saddened 
though he is, with what bright words of fun he 
writes, so like himself. 

Fort "Wokth, December 26, 1861. 

.... My first Christmas away from home was a sad 
one, I assure you ; for we have been accustomed for so 
many years to have a family gathering at home, and 
have always looked forward to it with such pleasant 
anticipations that it seemed as much like St. Patrick's 
Day (which every one knows is the most dismal of all 
days), as like Christmas. 

I had arranged to give a dinner to my company, of 
roast beef and plum-pudding, and considering all things 
it went off very well ; the only trouble being that old 
" Gore," my company cook, put all the whiskey I gave 
him for sauce down his throat, and the men complained 
that the sauce was too " flat." We (that is Company B's 
officers), had a very nice dinner of tm'key in my tent. 

Thursday Evening. 

.... I have just now received and opened the mag- 
nificent box of things which all the dear ones have sent 

me, and O my precious H -^ I cannot say enough 

about them. The dear little diary, just what I had been 
thinking I must have, and the lovely cap which I have 
on my head this minute, and which fits like a ^^ plasther ! " 
and all the good things too, enough to make the whole 
battalion sick for a month ! . . . . 

One o'clock^ Midnight. 

Darling Mamma : — .... Your beautiful picture 
took me all by surprise, for I had begun to think it 
impossible to get a good likeness of you, and then to 
have you suddenly appear to me from the depths of a 
soap-box, the effect was magical ! . . . . G 's dear 


little picture, too, is so pretty and cunning, all the boys 
are begging for it. Such good pictures seem to bring you 

all around me ; and with yours, H 's, little Howy's 

and G 's before me, I can almost imagine myself at 


January 7, 1862. 

.... I commenced writing to you Sunday night, 
telling you what a nice time I had had reading to my 
men all the evening, but I was so tired and sleepy that I 
was unable to finish, and gave it up ; having only suc- 
ceeded in spoiling a sheet of government paper. 

My men, as you know, are nearly all Roman Catholics, 
but when I give it out that I am going to read to them, 
the whole company, and many from other companies, 
collect in one of the largest tents ; and last Sunday even- 
ing they were sitting as thick as they could squat around 
me, while I read " The Railroad Man " to them. I wish 
that more of them were Protestants, for then I could 
talk to them in a much more satisfiictory way ; whereas 
now, I can only read to them such books as will interest 
them, without frightening them into the idea that I am 
trying to proselyte them. The consequence of this 
would be that they would confess to their priest, who 
comes once a month and confesses them in B's tent, and 
he would prejudice their minds so much that all good 
effect of my reading would be lost; so all I can do is 
to read to them and leave the matter in God's hands. 

One of my men, a splendid fellow, named Beck, was 
through the Crimean War, and knew Hedley Vicars. 
He was quite near at the time Vicars was killed. He 
speaks in the highest terms of him ; says that he was 
always reading to the men, giving them books, talking to 
them, and that his men of the 97th loved him dearly. 

This man Beck is one of the men who left his own 
company on the day we left Elm Park, and asked per- 
mission of Colonel P to join my comj3any, and a 

better soldier I never saw. 


Tell pcapa and mamma that if they have any books 
which they think would interest the men, to send them 
along, as I have entirely exhausted my stock. If papa 
could send me two or three of Jacob Abbot's histories — 
Alexander the Great, or any of them which he might 
select, I would read to them every night. 

Tell mamma that the bed, sheets, and spreads which 
she gave me are being used for the first time to-night. 
One of our captains has been taken suddenly ill with 
what I fear will prove typhoid fever, and as he cannot be 
moved to the hospital, Doull and I are taking care of 
him. I made his bed very comfortable with my linen, 
and put hot bottles to his feet, and Doull is sitting up 
with him the first part of the night ; I to take the last 
part, which, by the way, I shall not be in a fit condition 
to do unless I get to bed 

Find out, darling, who sent each of the things con- 
tained in the Christmas box, so that I may thank them. 

Kiss the little chap for me. Does he smoke a pipe yet ? 

We have found in his camp clicst the following 
letter from a dear Christian friend, Avritten at this 
time, which we insert, because it refers to a letter 
in which he relates some of his efforts as a soldier 
of the cross. 

My DEA.R Howard : — I had the pleasure a few even- 
ings since of hearing parts of your last letter to H 

read, and was deeply interested in all the details of your 
camp life. You will hardly credit it, that the moi^t 
trifling circumstances of your daily doings are eagerly 

sought and dwelt on by us. W and I think of you 

every day, and pray for you through many an hour. 

I felt a glow of pride on hearing of Dr. Lee's inter- 
view with you, and though a man is never a prophet in 
his own country, it was not difficult for me to think that 
the Doctor spoke advisedly when he wrote "Captain 


Kitching is one of the very best officers in the whole 

l' never doubted that you had it in you, and only 
wanted grace and opportunity to bring it out. 

But what made my heart throb with very gladness, 
was the simple statement you gave of your reading with 
the poor soldiers, for I know that in thus working for 
the Master, you will find a cheer and a joy in the work 
itself ; and if you live through this conflict, when this 
war shall have become an event of history, and in after 
years you call to remembrance its strange hurried scenes, 
you may be sure that the hours thus spent will be the 
greenest, and freshest, and most fragrant spots in mem- 
ory. And in that blessed land where " they learn war 
no more," you may meet those who found their way to 
Jesus' feet, by listening to your voice on the banks of the 

I am glad that you met with that old soldier who 
knew Hedley Vicars, and bore testimony to his unwearied 
efforts to bring the poor soldiers into the way of life. 
You may depend upon it, Miss Marsh's account of him 

was true to the letter, and that Major 's deprecatory 

reflections upon him, if they were not the suggestions of 
his own heart, were derived from those who, like himself, 
could see no beauty in that beautiful character — a young 
man fearless and loyal to his Saviour, while he was loyal 
to his Queen. 

It is a glorious mission, and the Lord has sent you to 
do just the work you are doing. I know what Christian 
courage it requires always, in such company, to show 
your colors ; but Christ's grace is sufficient, and if you 
are unfaltering, even those who cannot understand you 
will admire, and at last may imitate. 

The angels do not look down upon a thing on earth 
more noble, than a young, and loyal, consistent Christian 


Fort Blenker, January 19, 1862. 

.... On Friday morning, while we were all hard at: 
work in Fort Worth, Major Doull received orders to march, 
immediately to this post with two companies. In less 
than two hours' time, we had torn down our nice winter 
quarters, which we had built with so much trouble ; left 
our nice log cook-houses and stables, and were on the 
march ; I, in command of the troops, Doull having gone 
ahead to arrange for our relieving the troops at Blen- 

Such a march as we had of it ! Our way led throughi 
rough, unbroken woods, where the thick, black mud is- 
actually in some places two and a half feet deep. My 
men, laden as they were with knapsacks, haversacks,, 
and muskets, besides various articles which they had 
made at Fort Worth, and were loth to part with, could, 
scarcely get along ; sinking at every step knee deep in 
the mire, but still laughing and joking each other, and 
now and then roaring out a song which Lieutenant How- 
ard or I would start. I was mounted on Billy, with a 
pack before and behind, so high that I looked like a Jew 
peddler ; and after once getting into the saddle, could 
not get out again till I was " boosted " out by a file of 

I never saw such a magnificent lot of fellows as mine.. 
I thought that they would be very much dispirited at 
being obliged to leave their comfortable quarters during 
this miserable weather, and go forth, they knew not 
whither. But on the contrary, they received my orders 
to strike their tents, with cheers ; and during the march,, 
and on Friday night, although they were obliged to sleep, 
in an old barn, without any sides (only a roof), men. 
and horses all in together, I did not see one cloudy face-;, 
all w^ere cheerful and happy, seemingly content to go^ 
wherever I ordered, and they were needed 

Thursday night, I was enjoying the beautiful moon 
quite as much as you could have done, though by no 


means sleigh-riding, for it was quite warm. I had got 
an old cornet from one of the boys, and was playing 
" Star Spangled Banner," and other patriotic songs for 
the officers to sing, and we were all out in the moon- 
light in front of our tents, making everything ring till 
twelve o'clock 

Fort Ble:nker, Februartj 2, 1862. 
.... I am working very hard at my books, as I find 
that military men expect me to make up with brains for 
absence of whiskers. I was called into court on Satur- 
day, as a witness, and I heard afterward that the univer- 
sal opinion of the members of the court was, that I am 
an extraordinarily young looking man for a captain, but 
that I appeared much older after I began to speak. I 
am afraid my youthful appearance will always work 
against me in my military career, but as I cannot very 
well helji it, I won't worry over it 

Fort Blenker, February 18, 1862. 

Dear Theodore : — I should have replied to your 
kind letters long since, but that my mind has been so 
completely upset by our trouble here, beside being so 
occupied with our examination, that even when I could 
find an hour, it has seemed impossible for me to write a 
iletter that I would ask anybody to read. We have now 
.passed the examination, and are waiting anxiously for 
>the result of the report which was sent in to General 
McClellan by the Board. 

Major Doull and myself have been assured, that there 
is a bright day dawning for our regiment, after the 
gloomy experience which it has had ever since w^e en- 
tered Virginia. 

Just as soon as we obtain the report of the Board 
upon our examinations, I will send it to you, as I know 
that anything which concerns my welfare so nearly as 
the opinion of a board of regular army officers, as to 



my capabilities to fill my i^osition will interest you and 
L .... 

The examining Boards appointed by McClellan, have 
been the means of sending home a large number of in- 
efficient officers. 

Doull is already making a name for himself, proving 
himself quite equal to any of our West Point graduates 
in his military qualifications, and his proficiency in math- 
ematics and civil engineering. So you see I could not 
have a better instructor. 

We are very quiet here at Fort Blenker, having only 
two companies, with seven officers, and being almost en- 
tirely isolated from any other regiment. One day is 
painfully like another, the weather being so bad that it 
is quite impossible to have much out-door work. We 
are getting very weary of the monotony of this kind of 
life, and long for a change. 

The greater portion of the troops on this side of the 
Potomac -will be moved forward, just as soon as the 
roads become passable for artillery. Whether our regi- 
ment will be among the fortunate number, we cannot 
tell, but Major Doull has a proposal now before the 
Brigadier-general, to send us forward with siege guns 
and mortars, as it is very evident that the advance upon 
Manassas will be made after a very diffisrent plan from 
last summer. The rebel works will be regularly in- 
vested and taken by siege, five or six days' hard fighting 
being necessary for that purpose. 

I find that the smattering of mechanics which I pos- 
sess is of great assistance to me in the management of 
guns, and as I have been studying fortifications very 
diligently, I am anxious to have an opportunity of putting 
some of my theories into practice. 

There is great rejoicing here over the news of the 
victories in the West, and the general opinion apj^ears to 
be that the rebellion is " on its last legs." God grant 
that it may be so ! 


I am sorry to tell you that I meet with great discour- 
agements in my feeble efforts to bring the poor men in 
my own and other companies to a knowledge of the 
truth as it is in Jesus. Almost all the men in this 
detachment are Roman Catholics. My first lieutenant 
is of the same faith, and assisted by a priest who, like all 
his brethren, is most unremitting in his zeal. They all 
have the idea (quite right by the way) that I am tryino- 

to convert them ; and although B does not of course 

mterfere with me, still I cannot help feeling his influ- 
ence. I do what little I can, hoping and praying that 
some of the poor deluded ones may be brought out of 

Major DouU and I have inaugurated a temperance 
movement in the regiment, and I am glad to see that its 
effects are becoming manifest not alone amongst the men, 
but amongst the officers, many of whom have been mak- 
ing brutes of themselves ever since they began to feel 
that they were outside the influence of home and the 
restraints of society. 

All the officers of this detachment and nearly two 
thirds of my men, have signed off; and the consequence 
is a very great improvement in the moral tone of the 

My Sundays here, instead of being the happy days of 
home, are very sorrowful ones to me. One hundred 
men being crowded into one very small house, the Major 
and I are not only forced to occupy the same little room, 
but It always being the quarters of the commandino- 
officer, every little detail connected with the fort is 
brought there, and on Sunday particularly it is utterly 
impossible for me to enjoy even a half hour to myself. 
Most of our army officers consider Sunday a day to visit 
each other, and as they think, enjoy themselves; and as • 
D IS not of my mind in religious matters, and has 

a great deal of company on Sunday in addition to the 
calls made upon me, it seems as though I never could be 



alone. O how I long for those quiet lovely Sundays I 
spent with you and L . 

You perhaps cannot realize, occupied as you are in the 
Master's work, how difficult it is to have the same clear 
insight into heavenly things, and to keep a conscience 
void of offense here in camp, where I hear nothing but 
worldly conversation, and where one rarely hears the 
name of Jesus, except in some scoffer's mouth. 

I know that the true Christian can be just as near his 
Saviour when in camp, surrounded by irreligious and 
profane men, as when sliielded by the gentle loving in- 
fluences of home. Still there is a sad feehng of loneli- 
ness consequent upon a position such as mine, which I 
cannot at all times get rid of. I have seen more open 
wickedness and unblushing sin, since my connection with 
the army, than I ever dreamed of before. We have no 
regimental chaplain, and the weather has been so terrible 
that none of the regiments about here have had regular 
service ; consequently the few of my men who will go to 
the Protestant Church have been denied the privilege. 

Those little books which were sent out from home 
have been read and read, over and over again ; and just 
as soon as the affairs of the regiment are definitely set- 
tled, I am going to beg for some more 

Fort Blexker, Thursday Evening, March 13, 1862. 
Dear Papa, .... I am trying hard to find some- 
body to buy my gray horse ; for although he is so beau- 
tiful, and I have succeeded in making such a fine saddle 
horse of him, still I see that he will never do any work 
where I am obliged to jump on him and gallop for a 
mile or two through bushes, and stumps, over fences, and 
ditches, and then perhaps leave him standing tied to a 
tree without a blanket, and this in all weathers. He still 
couo-hs a good deal and appears quite weak at times. 
And yet I am in hopes of meeting somebody who will 
fancy him enough to pay a big price for him. My old 


friend Hidden of the Lincoln Cavalry had offered to buy 
him, but he, poor fellow, was killed last Sunday about ten 
miles from here while leading: a charo^e at the head of 
his men. He died as a soldier should, in the perform- 
ance of his duty, and the entire division are sounding 
his praises. He was out scouting with General Kearny, 
and they came upon what appeared to be a picket guard 
of the enemy. Hidden had only thirteen men, but he 
charged down a hill upon them, and found them to be 
about one hundred and fifty strong, and rifle-men. He 
however completely routed them, killing and wounding 
a great many and taking fourteen prisoners ; but he lost 
his life, being shot through the neck and killed instantly. 
He was a noble fellow, and brave as a lion. I wish I 
knew that he was a Christian. You will remember him ; 
he dined with you and me at Delmonico's one day. 

I was out beyond Fairfax yesterday, sixteen miles 
from Alexandria, and from what 1 can learn, 1 think that 
our chiefs are not a little puzzled at finding that the 
rebels have evacuated Manassas. 

I think that the strength of the army will return to 
Washington and be sent down the river, but of course 
nothing definite is known. 

Wherever they go we earnestly hope that we shall be 
ordered to accompany them. Our regiment is rapidly 
getting into a splendid condition under Major Doull, and 
now that we have muskets we are ready for anything. 

The fame of Ericsson and his monitor is in every- 
body's mouth, and I think that now he will be looked 
upon in his true character. 

Was he on board during the fight ? The " Times " 
says " yes." .... 

In a brief note, written to his wife late at night 
at the close of a weary day, he says : — 

Love our gracious Saviour, darling. Try to be with 


Him more every day ; and you will find that He is in- 
deed "Our Elder Brother," and the Friend above all 

In a letter a few weeks later lie writes : — 

I had a lovely letter from . He is I think, the 

most heavenly minded man I ever saw. How I wish 
that he could talk to the poor fellows who are lying in 
our hospitals about here, many of them dying without 
mention of Jesus' name being once made to them, — 
that name so full of comfort and hope to the dying 



" Rise ! for the day is passing, 

And you lie dreaming on ; 
The others have buckled their armor 

And forth to the fight are gone : 
A place in the ranks awaits you, 

Each man has some part to play ; 
The Past and Future are looking 

In the face of the stern To-day." 



" The next day they took him, and had him into the armory, where 
they shewed him all manner of furniture, which the Lord had pro- 
vided for pilgrims, as sword, shield, helmet, breast-plate, all-prayer, 
and shoes that would not wear out. And there was here enough of 
this to harness out as many men for the service of the Lord, as there 
be stars in the heaven for multitude," Buxyan. 

The dreamer's picture must have been in tke 
mind of the young soldier, when he drew with 
skillful pencil, the sketch which forms the frontis- 
piece of his pocket diary for this year, — Christian 
going forth to the conflict, clad in the Avhole armor 
of God. Behind liim the pleasant fields and quiet 
valleys — before, the rough and dusty highway, 
strewn with emblems of death. But with firm 
hand he is grasping the shield, on which the white 
cross glistens, and his eye is gazing steadfastly on 
the motto over him : — 

" Nominis stat umbra." 
For we have abundant evidence that whether in 
garrison or in the field, his strong tower was the 
name of Jesus ; and that though i7i the world,, 
amid its most distracting, most disheartening, 
scenes, he was not of the world. We know of no 
harder warfare for the young Christian than camp 


life affords. O, how many young men who were 
moving humbly in the path of Christian usefulness 
amid the quiet of home life, have entered the army 
and lost their way, — passed over from the thorny 
outpost under the canopy of heaven, to the glare 
and the lights and the festive din of the enemy's 
camp, and forgotten the conflict. AVhile others, 
like Colonel K itching, have gro^vn stronger from 
the stern conflict. " Blameless and harmless, 
shining as lights in the world ; " O, we can never 
be this, unless we have hold of Christ. No power 
short of this can keep us steadfast in our Christian 
testimony, firm in our Christian hope, warm in our 
Christian love, where there is nothing without to 
encourage us. 

Colonel Kitching was now to leave the barrack 
for the battle-field. His ardent spirit was chafing 
for more active service, and when it was announced 
that the army was about to advance towards 
Richmond, and there was a prospect of his being 
left behind to do garrison duty, he could keep 
quiet no longer, and volunteered to go with the 
army of the Potomac. In a letter of General 
fUpton's,^ referring to this period, and of his meet- 
ing with Colonel Kitching, he says, " Anxious to 
participate in the first campaign of the army of the 
Potomac, he came to my battery, and sought per- 
mission to join it. So anxious was he in fact, that 
he not only waived his rank to serve under me, but 
he went still further, and took command of a sec- 
tion as the junior second lieutenant of the battery. 

1 Then a captain in the regular army. 


Foregoing every consideration due to his rank, 
and ignoring the pleasures and comforts of garri- 
son life, he sought service in the field against the 
enemies of his country ; an act, not only indicative 
of his ardent patriotism, but one which will for- 
ever reflect credit and honor upon his character as 
an officer and soldier." 

The following letter was written by Howard 
soon after joining General Upton : — 

Camp Arnold, Manassas, Sunday Evening, AjMl 6, 1862. 

.... I have not had one minute since reporting my- 
self for duty to the battery. Two days after I joined, 
I was appointed adjutant of the artillery brigade of 
Franklin's division, which in addition to my daily duties 
as chief of section in my own battery, keeps me on the 
run most ol^the time. I suppose that I ought to con- 
sider the appointment a compliment, but as I had quite 
enough to do before, I must say that I would have been 
quite contented without it. 

Now to tell you what we have been doing the past 
three days and how we got where we are now ; as I wrote 
you 'from our old camp (" Upton "), in a hurried note, 
we received orders Thursday night, at about eleven 
o'clock, to move on to Manassas Friday morning. So 
at nine o'clock we left our old camp, and pushed on to 
Centreville (twenty-one miles) before dark. We had a 
very hot, dusty march of it, I can tell you ; the lumber- 
ing artillery carriages raising the dust to such an extent 
that one could scarcely see twenty feet of the road, and 
the sun poured down upon us really like summer. We 
reached Centreville, as I have said, just before dark ; and 
after seeing after our horses and guns, we pitched a tent, 
and fixed ourselves as comfortably as we could ; the only 
difficulty being to keep warm, as it comn^enced raining 
just after midnight, and drenched everything through and 


through — for while troops are on the march, the most 
we can do is to provide a shelter against the dampness of 
the night, and a hard beating rain seems to penetrate 
everything in the shape of canvas. 

"When I awoke yesterday morning, all my clothes 
had that miserable damp feeling that chills one so, and 
when I poked my head out of the tent it was raining 
great guns. 

We ate a piece of beefsteak and some crackers, and 
started at seven o'clock, and until we reached Bull Run, 
it rained and rained till I thought it would never stop ; 
and such dismal work it is marching with an artillery 
train on such a day. Every little while we would get 
into some deep hole where the heavy guns would stick 
fast, and we would have to put on extra horses to pull 
them out. 

When we reached Manassas station the rain ceased, 
and things began to look brighter, and before we had our 
camp arranged, it had cleared off quite pleasantly. 

We are located in a lovely spot here, about two miles 
beyond the old battle-field, with almost the whole of 
Franklin's division within sight of us. I suppose we 
are on our way to Richmond, and that we shall move on 
in the morning, but cannot tell positively. Much dis- 
satisfaction is expressed at our having been withdrawn 
from. McClellan's command and placed under that of 
McDowell, but as good soldiers we must go ahead, and do 
as we are ordered without grumbling 

A true illustration of the spirit that animated 
the young men of our army. Educated, and ac- 
customed to think for themselves on all subjects, 
tliey freely discussed every movement, but when 
the order was given to march, they were ready to 
go forward, anywhere, without a murmur. It was 
their intelligence, and in many cases, Christian 


faith, that made them the noblest and best soldiers 
that ever fought for their country. 

The order of President Lincoln, dictating a 
movement of the Army of the Potomac against 
Manassas, was at this time rescinded, and in com- 
pliance with the earnest solicitations of General 
McClellan, a change of base to the lower Chesa- 
peake was commenced. This wonderful movement 
was aptly called by a European critic, " the stride 
of a giant." As a distinguished writer says, " To 
take up an army of over one hundred thousand 
men, transport it and all its immense material by 
water, and plant it down on a new theatre of oper- 
ations near two hundred miles distant, is an en- 
terprise, the details of which must be studied, ere 
its colossal magnitude can be adequately appre- 
hended. It was an undertaking eminently charac- 
teristic of the American genius, and of a people 
distins^uished above all others for the ease with 
which it executes great material enterprises — a 
people rich in resources, and in the faculty of cre- 
ating resources." 

The following letters refer to this time : — 

On board Transport " Willing,'"" off Yorktown, ) 
Satu7'day Evening^ April 19, 1862. ) 

My own sweet Wife : — I intended writing you a 
nice long letter before leaving Alexandria ; but we re- 
ceived orders to embark much sooner than we expected, 
and our men having been paid off just as we left, the 
officers were obliged to do all the work, so that I did not 
get one moment in which to write. 

Papa, I suppose, told you of our being ordered to 


return to Alexandria in order to come down the river, 
so it will not surprise you much to know that we are 
here. We have received so many conflicting orders 
lately, that I think I should not be much astonished at 
our receiving orders to embark immediately for the 

We have just come in here expecting that we were to 
disembark in rear of McClellan's lines, and then advance 
by land, but we have within ten minutes received orders 
from General Franklin not to land, as we were going 
farther up the river, and Captain Purdy, Franklin's 
adjutant-general, made the remark to Captain Arnold, 
that " we should land under tire," so I su^jpose we may 
have a warm time of it. These things however, ai-e very 
uncertain, and we don't really know where we ai-e go- 

"l trust that our blessed Master in his mercy will spare 
me to return to you very soon, and I know that whatever 
happens, He will take care of us as He has in days gone 
by. And I want my darling one to trust Him implicitly ; 
and when days seem darkest, and she may be tempted to 
think Jesus has forsaken her, go and tell Him every- 
thing just as she would me if I were there, and then 
leave all her cares with Him ; and she will find Him 
the same kind, loving Saviour that He has always been. 

I must confess H 'darling, that this is a trying 

hour for me ; but I go to Jesus and He seems to be very, 
very near me sometimes, and then I think that all will 
be well if I only trust in Him 

As I am writing I can hear the booming of the heavy 
guns at Yorktown, where " little Mac " is banging away 
at the rebels. The report is that there has been severe 
work there to-day, but we hear nothing official. 

Little Doull is in the trenches working away with his 
heavy guus. He will make a name for himself if he does 
not lose his life 

God bless you all, and in his infinite mercy unite us 


again here ou earth, and reunite, us in his, and our 
heavenly home. Jesus, Master, be with all my precious 
ones, and with their own Howard. 

To his wife : — 

Camp Ellis, neak Yorktowx, Friday Evenhuj, April 25, 18G2. 

.... I have been nursing Lieutenant Williston of 
our battery, who has been very sick for a week past with 
typhoid fever. This, in addition to my other duties, has 
kept me so occupied that I have had no time to write. 

.... We have been busy all the week getting our 
horses and guns ashore, and have just finished to-day. 
We are now awaiting the arrival of the new iron gun- 
boat Galena, to embark again for Gloucester Point. 
I inclose in my letter to papa a rough map, cut from 
the '' Herald," which will give you some idea of our 
position. General McClellan is in front of Yorktown 
with nearly one hundred thousand men, and our division, 
with General McCall's, numbering in all about twenty 
thousand, are to cross the York River, and after effect- 
ing a landing, attack Gloucester Point, a place which is 
strongly fortified and held by the rebels, and where we 
shall probably be obliged to fight pretty hard to obtain a 

.... My darling must pray, as I feel sure she does, 
that our loving Father will spare my life through the 
dangers of the battle-field, and also that He will ena- 
ble her to be resigned to his will in everything, know- 
ing that " He doeth all things well." 

.... Give my best love to L . Tell her that I 

would love dearly to have one of our old talks together 
and that through the mercy of Jesus, I can appreciate 

her feelings better now than in those old times 

God bless you, my precious one ! I would so love to 
kiss you good-night as of old, and kneel down side by 
side as we did that sorrowful Sunday night, and pray to 
the same lovmg Jesus. We can do this, my darling. 


although separated. • Don't forget to go to Jesus, at twi- 
light, every day, and I will be there with you, even if in 
the saddle, marching in the dust, or on the battle-field. 

I feel, darling, that there is a bright, happy future in 
store for you and me ; perhaps here on earth ; certainly 
in our Father's house, where we shall be together " with 
the Lord." 

Camp Ellis, near Yorktown, Friday Evening, April 25, 1862. 
My dear Papa : — .... Were it not for H • 

and the little one, T should go into battle without a shade 
of fear, and with all the ardor of my age and natural 

But when I begin to think of what poor H will 

do if I am killed, I assure you, it tries my faith as well 
as my manhood, to the utmost. 

But I do not wish you to think that I am desponding 
or discouraged. As I said before, were it not for others, 
who are comparatively helpless, and dependent upon me, 
I should have no anxiety, no fear for the future. 

If I am spared to return, I shall be home by the mid- 
dle of May ; and then if we could keep house, some- 
where near the " old home," I think I should be con- 
tented with everything and everybody. I suppose that 
you are very much in the dark in New York, as to the 
proposed plan of operations here, so 1 will tell you all 
I know. 

McClellan is, as you know, in front of Yorktown, 
with something less than one hundred thousand men. 
He is mounting several very heavy batteries, but is not 
yet ready to open fire. 

Our division (Franklin's), together with General Mc- 
Cair§, are to be sent across York River, and landed 
somewhere below Gloucester Point, with the intention of 
taking possession of it. 

It is very strongly fortified, and held by the rebels, 
and once taken, Yorktown is lost ; consequently, it is 


supposed that they will make a desperate resistance. All 
the generals here express the opinion that this is to be 
the battle ground of the war. 

I inclose a map which I cut from the " Herald," on 
which I have marked our present position ; please give 

it to II as it will give her a very definite idea of 

where I am, and where I am going. 

As I may not have an opjDortunity of writing again 
before we move, you must not be surprised, if you should 
not hear from me till you see us mentioned as having 
been in a fight. 

I almost forgot to say that the new iron gunboat 
Galena is to accompany us up the river. 

Is this one of Ericsson's ? . . . . 

Camp Ellis, near Yorktown, Sunday, April 27, 1862. 

Darling Mamma : — I have wished to write to you 
every day^since we started on our first campaign to Ma- 
nassas, but I am so differently situated here from what 
I was, as captain of my own company, that it is very 

difficult to manage to scribble even a few lines to H 

now and then 

We were only allowed to bring two tents to ac- 
commodate eight officers, and the result is, that it is 
quite impossible to be quiet or alone for ten minutes, un- 
less I go outside, and leave camp altogether. You know 
how difficult it is to write, when surrounded by three or 
four noisy persons, who are continually talking to you, 
and to all ap23earance, doing everything in their power 
to disturb and interrupt you. 

I really think that the experiences of the past six 
months have entirely obliterated all traces of a desire 
for military glory in the bosom of your humble servant. 

I commenced a letter to you last night, but the very 
first page was so gloomy and miserable, in addition to the 
fact of the rain having leaked through the tent, upon the 
paper, making it look as though I had been dropping 
very large tears upon it, that I tore it up 


My discomfort is increased by the fact that I have 
little or no sympathy from any one in the company. The 
men are all strangers to me, and would remain so under 
the present dispensation, were I with the company for 
years — it being considered subversive of good discipline, 
and very irregular, for a commissioned officer to come in 
direct contact with the men in any way. And I find my 
lieutenants to be, with one exception, so very jealous of 
my being higher in rank than they, that I am obliged to 
be extremely cautious how I infringe upon even a cus- 
tom of the company, much more an order. 

I do not tell you all this in a complaining mood, but 
simply because I have ahyays run straight to mamma 
with all my stories, and I know that you are always anx- 
ious to know just how I am situated, wherever I am. 
Nor must you think that I have any difficulty with any 
one here. Not at all. , The trouble is simply this, that 
while in command of my own company, I felt all the 
time as though I was doing somebody some good ; I 
knew each individual soldier, his troubles and sorrows. 
And you know how much interest I felt in everything 
which concerned my company. 

Here, things are widely different. I am forced to act 
as though the men were mere machines, without either 
souls or feelings. I say forced, because I have already 
been shown plainly that my position as a volunteer, will 
not admit of my running against the prejudices of these 
regular officers. 

I was ordered down the river this morning, to issue 
some orders to the engineers who are constructing the 
rafts which are to transport our guns and horses across 
York River, and I saw them for the first time. 

They are formed of many canal boats, nearly twenty 
feet apart, tied together by strong timbers, upon which 
platforms are built, and uj)on these the horses and guns 
are to stand, the horses already harnessed and ready to 
be i^ushed overboard, and taken on shore in the shortest 
possible time. 


I wi'ote papa, I believe, all about our proposed move- 
ments, so I suppose you all understand the plan of oper- 
ations just about as well as we do here. The idea here 
is that the propose<l point of attack is strongly fortified, 
and that we shall be obliged to disembark under fire of 
the enemy, which, to say the least, will be rather disagTee- 
able, for my experience already proves that it is quite 
difficult enough to get large numbers of men and horses 
over the side of a vessel, and then ashore, even without 
the additional excitement of having both men and horses 
killed by shot and shell while in the water. 

But it is thoughtless in me to worry you with these 
things when perhaps we mayjiot be thus exposed. 

And here I want to beg of you all not to be fright- 
ened if you hear of our division or even our battery 
having been engaged, for the newspaper reports of these 
things are always exaggerated. 

You may be sure of one thing, that if anything hap- 
pens to niS^ you will hear it soon enough — such news 
always appears to fly on lightning wings. 

It seems wicked to be scribbling this kind of letter 
on Sunday, dearest mamma, but this is the only quiet 
hour I have had inside the tent for a week past, and I 
know that you want to know everything about me. I 
do so long for a dear quiet Sunday at home, once 

The only difference here between Sunday and any 
other day must be in a man's own heart ; there is cer- 
tainly none outside. I have very little time to read 
books of any sort, but I have that little " Diary " which 
darling Fanny used so long, and it is so small that 
I can carry it in my pocket, and can read a verse and 
hymn wherever I am. It is a dear little book, and 
being full of Fanny's well remembered handwriting, it 
is always accompanied by very sweet as well as very 
sad remembrances. 

Papa told me in his letter about your thinking of buy- 


ing a house for II and L Were it not that I have 

had constant proof for the past twenty years of the 
boundlessness of your love for all of us, I could not be- 
lieve it. It seemed too good to be true. And that 

darling H and I should really be living in our 

own little house, seems like something in the dim future, 
only to be dreamed of. You know how I love home, 
always did as a boy ; and if my life is spared to return 
to a little home of my own, I think my cup of happiness 
will be full. 

I know that my precious mother will be delighted to 
hear that Jesus' presence is almost always realized by me 
now. Sometimes, it is true, dark clouds seem to come 
between Him and my soul; but at such times I have 
only to go to Him and tell Him everything, and He 
at once dispels the darkness, and gives me perfect confi- 
dence and trust. 

Good-by, my own darling, precious mamma. This 
may be the last letter I shall be able to write you. 

Pray for me, that whatever happens, I may be safe in 
Jesus. Love to James and dear little Amy. God bless 
you all. Ever jowv loving son. 

" Oft I walk beneath the cloud, 
Dark as midnight's gloomy shroud; 
But when fear is at the height, 
Jesus comes, and all is light. 
Blessed Jesus ! bid me show 
Doubting saints how much I owe." 

After remaining encamped for about a week, in 
the vicinity of Yorktown, tliey again took boats, 
and under Franklin steamed up the York River, 
and disembarked, on the 6th of May, at West 
Point. The battle fought the next day was the 
first battle in which he was engaged, and the two 


letters following give us a faint idea of his emotions 
on beholding the stern realities of war, — 

" The dead and wounded carried in." 

To his wife : — 

Camp Newton, West Point, Wednesday Evening, \ 

May 7, 1862. ] 

.... We have just repulsed an attack made by the 
rebels about twenty thousand strong, under General 

I have not one moment in which to write. By God's 
mercy I am safe. 

We arrived off this place yesterday afternoon, and 
were hard at work landing our horses and guns, and the 
enemy attacked us at ten this morning, before our divis- 
ion was all ashore. Two of our infantry regiments 
were driven out of the woods with heavy slaughter, the 
31st New ^rk having lost two whole companies, and 
six or eight officers. When the enemy drove our men 
from the woods into the open ground, our artillery 
opened fire, and throwing solid shot and shell, soon made 
them " very scarce." 

We were in battery six hours, and we have all, includ- 
ing the poor horses, been in harness since Sunday morn- 
ing ; and as I have had nothing to eat but one big cracker 
since yesterday noon, I am beginning to feel hungry and 

I will write particulars just as soon as I can get time. 

Our boys were not much exposed, and none hurt ; but 
the manner in which some of the infantry regiments 
were cut up made me savage. 

I have just come from a poor lieutenant who is mor- 
tally wounded. 1 have been telling him of Jesus, but, 
poor fellow, he is almost gone, and is hardly able to 
think, even. God, in his infinite grace, have mercy on 
his soul ! He seemed to know nothinoj of the Saviour, 


and although so fearfully wounded, would say at times, 
when able to speak, that he knew -he would get well. 

Don't be worried, darling. I am all right, and after 
having something to eat and three or four hours' sleep, 
will be as bright as possible. We shall probably follow 
the rebels up, and as we are now within twenty-two 
miles of Richmond, I think that a few days will prob- 
ably finish up my mission and enable me to return to 
you all 

Camp at " White House," Yikginia, May 16, 1862. 

.... I had no chance to tell you anything about the 
battle at West Point on the 7th, and I knew that if you 
were sure I was safe, you would be quite willing to wait 
for particulars, until I could get time to write fully. 

We left Yorktown on Tuesday morning, Franklin's 
division, about twelve thousand strong, in a large flotilla 
of boats of every description. The infantry were carried 
on large steamboats, while the cavalry and artillery were 
towed behind on large rafts made purposely for them, 
the guns being placed around the edge, forming a bul- 
wark, inside of which the horses were placed, with har- 
ness on, just ready to be hitched to the guns at a mo- 
ment's notice 

We arrived at West Point just before dark, and after 
throwing a few shell into some rebel cavalry which made 
its appearance on the shore, we commenced landing our 
troops. You will at once see that this is rather a risky 
thing — landing ten thousand men, and horses, upon a 
hostile shore, Avhen every moment expecting an attack, 
for it being necessarily slow work, landing the men by 
small boatloads at a time, the enemy could attack them 
as they arrived, and slaughter them in detail. 

These rebels, however, appear to be rather afraid of 
our gunboats, for we can in no other way account for 
their not molestino- as, than the fact of our having two 
gunboats. At any rate, they allowed their chance to 


slip by, and we worked hard all night, and just before 
daybreak we got all our artillery landed, losing only one 
horse out of five hundred. 

My boating experience, as well as my knowledge of 
horses, was, 1 hope, of some service that night. If you 
could have seen me standing at the tiller, steering a huge 
raft, with one hundred and eighty horses on board, jump- 
ing and kicking, and trying their best to get overboard, 
whilst all the soldiers, worn out with hard work, were 
sleeping on all sides, you would have wondered what 
kind of craft I had got into. 

However, as I said, we got ashore at last, and about 
nine o'clock in the morning we were attacked by the 
enemy in large force, under Generals Lee and Smith. 

Several New York regiments were immediately ordered 
out to meet them, and very soon the musketry firing 
became very heavy. We had four batteries of artillery 
ashore, and we were held in reserve, ready for action, 
waiting tilljthe rebels should come out of the woods into 
the plain, and give us a chance at them. Our men, the 
31st and 32d New York, and one Pennsylvania regi- 
iment, had hardly entered the woods, when the firing 
became very heavy, and almost incessant, the rebels 
yelling and cheering like fiends, as they drove our men 
back by mere force of numbers. Every few moments 
some poor fellow was carried past us, either dead or hor- 
ribly wounded. 

We never fired a shot until our men began to appear, 
retreating from the edge of the woods, when we loaded 
with shell, and just as soon as the enemy made their 
appearance, we let them have it, one gun at a time, 
slowly and deliberately. They stood their ground for 
a long time, and their shooting was terribly effective, 
almost all of our wounded being hit mortally and many 
killed instantly, by being shot through the head. Only 
one of our artillerymen was hit, however, getting a rifle- 
ball in his elbow. 


Our solid shot and shells were too hot for them, and 
at last they began to retire, when our brave infixntry 
again pushed into the woods, and drove them about two 
miles before night came on. It was a glorious victory, 
for our force was small ; they outnumbering us, two to 
one. We have since seen their reports of the fight, and 
they acknowledge that "they intended driving us into 
the river as at Ball's Bluff, but that our artillery was too 
hot for them.'' 

Indeed, General Newton has stated since that our 

guns saved the day Considering the numbers 

engaged, our loss was very severe; the 31st New 
York losing almost two entire companies, including fom- 
officers. The o2d New York also suffered terribly, as 
also the 16th New York, and the Pennsylvania regi- 
ment. General Franklin was with our battery during 
part of the time, and appeared pleased with our fir- 

I believe that this army cannot be beaten now. They 
stand fire like veterans, and apparently the more terribly 
they suffer, the more fiercely they fight 

In Camp, within Twenty Miles of Richmond, ) 
Wednesday Night, May 19, 1862. j 

Dear Papa : — I have had no opportunity of writing 
to you since our fight at West Point, except to tell you 
of my safety, for we have been so continually on the 
move that we have scarcely had time to pitch our tents 
and get out our writing materials, before we would re- 
ceive an order to move again. 

The rebels have destroyed everything in the bridge 
line, and rendered the roads as impassable as they could ; 
and as our corps is in the advance, we have to make 
roads for the whole army, and we frequently are delayed 
so much in a march of five miles that six and even eight 
hours will be consumed in accomplishing it. 

McCiellan seems to have thoroughly matured his 
plans, and is moving forward steadily and surely. 


We are to-night within twenty miles of Richmond, 
having left White House Landing at four o'clock this 
morning. Our pickets are out about eight miles ahead, 
and report no considerable force of the enemy in sight ; 
but the general ojjinion is that they will make a grand 
stand at a place called Bottom's Bridge, just this side of 

We have, of course, no reliable information respecting 
their force, but I am quite certain, from what our division 
did at West Point, that this army will sweej) steadily 
and resistlessly over any and every force which may be 
arrayed against it. 

The rebels had thirty thousand men at West Point, 
with thirty pieces of artillery, and the inhabitants about 
the neighborhood say that their avowed intention was to 
drive us into the river, as at Ball's Bluff. But Gideon's 
God is certainly with us, and one cause for congratulation 
is, that notwithstanding our apparent helplessness at the 
time, landing^upon a strange and hostile shore, with only 
a portion of the artillery belonging to the division 
landed, we were enabled to repulse them, as we did, so 
effectually, that we learn now, from the people about, 
that they retreated that very night, even leaving their 
wounded. Their loss must have been very heavy, judg- 
ing from the number of graves which we passed in om' 

If you could see me, nowadays, throw my mattress 
down either on the uncovered deck of an artillery 
transport, or right on the wet grass, it matters not where, 
and sleep just as soundly and as warm as if I was in my 
own bed at home, you would scarcely believe that it was 
the same chap who a little more than a year ago was 
nursing himself with such care, and having his lungs 
examined quarterly, by various physicians, to see how far 
they were gone. 

To give you some idea of the life we lead, we re- 
ceived our orders last evening to move this morning at 


four o'clock, and as I was " officer of the day," I was 
obliged to get up at two o'clock, having only had three 
hours' sleep, and attend to getting the battery ready to 
move. We then commenced our march at four o'clock, 
and were in the saddle till ten a. m., when we reached 
this place, and by the time we got our camp arranged 
(that is, our horses and guns, for our own tents did not 
arrive for two hours afterward), I was so . tired and 
sleepy that I could not keep myeyesoi^en, and laid down 
in some high clover with my overcoat over me ; and 
although it was raining like fun, I enjoyed as nice and 
refreshing a sleep as I ever had in my life. I do not 
think that sleeping in the wet grass in a rain-storm would 
have improved my health last spring, do you ? 

But here we are obliged to do as we best can, and if 
our tents don't come up, we have to do without them. 

I think I am getting fatter every day, although 
the weather is quite warm, and we are worked pretty 
hard. I cannot be thankful enough for my restored 

In Camp near New Bridge, Six Miles from Richmond, ) 
Thursday Morning, May 29, 1862. ) 

Dear Papa : — We are still idle here, waiting, almost 
momentarily expecting an order to move ; and very anx- 
ious we all are, I assure you, to " go in " and have the 
fight over. It is rumored that we are to make the at- 
tack to-morrow morning, and I sincerely hope it may 
be so, as it is much more unpleasant waiting day after 
day in anticipation of a battle than it is to go right in 
and finish it up. 

Our generals seem to think that the resistance here 
will be desperate, and McClellan is moving along cau- 
tiously. It is reported that the rebels have one hundred 
and seventy-five thousand men opposed to us, but we 
also hear that they are to a great extent demoralized 
and discouraged. 


We had rather a brilliant affair day before yesterday. 
General Fitz John Porter moved up on our right with 
his division, about twelve thousand strong, and coming 
across about fifteen thousand rebels, he completely routed 
them twice, killing a great many, and taking about nine 
hundred prisoners. Our loss in all is about two hundred 
killed and wounded. 

We can see the enemy's pickets distinctly from 
where we lie, and every little while the rascals send a 
shell over this way, just as a reminder of their pres- 

Five o' Clock p. m. 

I was sent this morning up to Mechanicsville, the 
scene of the recent fight, where our brigade has one 
battery stationed. How I wish you could just see the 
village where the fight took place ! Every house is rid- 
dled with all kinds of projectiles, from a ten pounder 
cannon-ball to a pistol bullet. 

The tavern of the place was used as a shelter by some 
of the rebels, and there is not a room in the house that 
is not shot throuajh and throuo;h. 

One ten-pounder solid shot from one of our rifle pieces 
had gone through the side of the house and through the 
walls of three rooms, entirely cutting in its course a 
door-post and casing four inches square, then passed out 
the other side of the house and entered an outhouse, 
where it at last brought up by striking and knocking 
down a brick chimney. I never fully realized before the 
fearful velocity and power of our rifle projectiles. 

Our troops are in splendid fighting order. In every 
instance lately, when they have been tried, they have 
behaved with the greatest coolness. And there exists 
the greatest confidence in our whole army that we shall 
thrash the enemy very soundly, although they so far out- 
number us. But you would be astonished to find how 
intensely ignorant we are here concerning the proposed 
mode of attack. 


For instance, since I have been writing, one of our 
officers has brought in word that we shall not probably 
move upon Richmond for ten days or two weeks ; and 
that McDowell was on his way to join us ; and yet I 
should not be at all surprised at being called up before 
daybreak to have my section harnessed uj). It is just 
so from day to day. We often hear a dozen or more 
different reports in one day, and the consequence is that 
every one becomes more or less indifferent to the stirring 
scenes about us. 

We have been ordered out in a hurry several times 
lately, sometimes at night, and each time fully expect- 
ing that the crisis had at last arrived, and yet from con- 
stant association with such things, every one goes about 
his work as if we were simply preparing for drill or 
parade; and this is the state of things throughout the 
entire army 

Camp near New Bridge, June 8, 1862. 

.... I must scribble a few lines to you to-night, just 
to try to drive away the loneliness that I have felt all 

Everything remains about the same here, and I am 
beo'inning to feel almost discourasfed. We hear almost 
every day that we shall probably attack Richmond im- 
mediately, and every few days an order will come to 
harness up our battery instantly, and be ready to move 
at a moment's warning, but still we do nothing. I think 
that General McClellan is right in being cautious, know- 
ing, as he does, that the enemy will make a desperate 
stand just here, and we are indeed too near the termina- 
tion of this wicked rebellion to risk anything by haste, 
when by waiting a few days, we can make assurance 
doubly sure. But it is very tiresome lying here within 
five hundred yards of the enemy, and having our pickets 
shot down daily, without being able to give them any- 
thing in return. 


I went down to the banks of the Chickahominy a 
day or two ago, with ten or twelve forage wagons, be- 
longing to onr brigade, to get a load of clover (which is 
growing in great abundance near the river) for our 
horses. No sooner had I placed my men (about twenty- 
five in all) in the field, mowing the clover, than the 
rebels on the other side the river commenced shelling us 
with their ten and twenty pounder guns. The rascals 
fired so well that I was forced to place my wagons under 
a hill about three hundred yards off, to keep the horses 
from being struck. Then it was fun to see the men mow ! 
The regular soldiers belonging to our battery, with real 
old soldier's pride, scorned to dodge or wince, when the 
shells came whirring through the air ; but some of the 
men belonging to volunteer batteries would fall down 
flat in the grass every time they heard a shell coming. 
As they continued coming every three or four minutes, 
you may imagine that there was more dodging than 
mowing ; but I laughed at the men so much, that after a 
little while they did much better. 

Our poor infantry soldiers are obliged to work con- 
stantly under fire of this kind, building bridges and roads 
just below us, and every now and then some poor fellow 

is brought over this way on a stretcher 

I have had a very quiet Sunday to-day ; have en- 
joyed it very much with my Bible and my thoughts. I 
have followed my dear ones through the day, and have 
prayed earnestly that the same gentle, loving Saviour, 
who has been with me in the cheerless tent, would be 
with you all at home. Pray for me, that Jesus may 
keep my soul, as well as body, in his own gracious 

In Camp, near Richmond, Wednesdaij Evening, June 11, 1862. 

.... I am beginning to feel as though I could not 
wait for the entry into Richmond, but must rush home to 
my own little wife and baby, and let other men fight the 


country's battles ; but I am trying to be patient, and am 
hoping that each day will bring the order for us to open 
the battle. 

All my fond hopes and expectations of spending a 
nice summer at home with my darlings appear to be dis- 
solving and fading away ; for here we are in the middle 
of June, and not in Richmond yet. But we must keep 
up our pluck, and hope on still. We shall enjoy our 
lovely home together much more when I do, at last, re- 

I have been indulging in some tremendous castles in 
the air lately, amongst which visions of housekeeping, 
little sitting-rooms, piano, fat baby rolling on the floor, 
etc., stand prominent ; and yet it will hardly do to think 
too much upon these things, for at any time, one of the 
rebel round-shot may crash through my house, upsetting 
the piano, baby, little wifie and all. 

I wonder if my H remembers to pray with and 

for me at twilight every day. Jesus has been very kind 
to me lately, darling. He has made me contented and 
happy sometimes, when I would have been very misera- 
ble if left to myself .... 

Just as soon as the fate of Richmond is decided, I 
shall hurry home, and we must wait patiently till that 
time. One consolation I shall always have in after years, 
that I gave a helping hand to crush out this unholy and 
terrible rebellion. 

Our people at home must be very sad about poor, dear 
little Gracie. She was such a sweet child, and we all 

loved her so dearly. I think of poor L all the 

time. Does it not appear strange, darling, that she and 
Theodore should be so afflicted? .... But we know 
that " whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth," and al- 
though we can scarcely understand why dear little Grace 
should be taken away, still we know, and I am sure that 

dear L feels, that it is all for the best, nor would 

she have it otherwise. May our heavenly Father spare 
our little one to be a comfort and blessing to us both ! . . . . 


That our loving Redeemer may be always present 
with you, to protect and bless, is the constant prayer of 
Your loving Howard. 

Give much love to everybody at home. Kiss darling 
mamma for me, and tell her that I have given up the 
study of all tactics but the eighth chapter of Romans, 
which I find more and more glorious every time I read 

How many a Christian heart will respond to this 
verdict of the riches of glory of that wonderful 
chapter. How many have been convinced, con- 
verted, sustained, and cheered by it. 

We remember at this time reading a letter from 
a young officer of the army of the Potomac, sent 
us by his mother, a funny, cheery letter, giving an 
account of the hard and wearisome marches, the 
exposureT;o heat and to cold and hunger with not 
a word of complaint, and ending with the very un- 
expected ending, " Hurrah ! mother dear, for the 
eighth of Romans ! " 

In Camp near Fair Oaks Station, Thursday, June 19, 1862. 

My sweet Wife : — You will see by the date of this 
that we have at last crossed the Chickahominy, and are, 
as we supposed, fairly on our road to Richmond. 

We crossed the river last evening, just before dusk, 
concealing our movements so successfully from the enemy, 
that they were pitching their shells and solid shot into 
one bridge, whilst we were crossing upon the next one 
below. After crossing we had a miserable, dreary march 
through woods and swamps to this place, which is very 
near the battle-ground of June 1st. Our way lay 
through a dense pine forest, which in many places was 
so marshy and swampy that our gun carriages would 


sink in to the hubs, and then, such whipjDing and yellino- 
and shoving and pushing to make the poor horses drag 
the guns out ! 

You would be surprised to see how hard-hearted and 
savage war has made me. If you coukl see me in some 
terrible mud-hole, with the gim simk to the axle-tree, and 
the six horses in the mire to their bellies, urging and even 
flogging the horses, and scolding the men, endeavoring to 
extricate my gun by their united efforts, you would tliink 
that I had been transformed into some flinty-hearted 
omnibus driver. 

But you see that the guns must be taken care of, even 
at the expense of the horses, consequently the necessities 
of the case have driven me to a much more accurate 
knoAvledge of what horses can stand than I ever had 

To add to our discomfort, yesterday a heavy shower 
came on during our march, soaking everything, and oblig- 
ing us, when at last we reached this detestable spot, to 
pitch our tents in a stumpy clearing, where the high 
weeds were so wet that it was almost like pitchmg our 
tents in the centre of a mill-pond. But you would have 
been surprised if you could have peeped in upon us after 
we had been in camp about an hour, to see how ex- 
tremely jolly the party were. Seven of us in one tent, 
each with a piece of biscuit and pork, and tin cup of 
coffee ; you would have thought that they had never 
lived in any other style. I must however except my- 
self from the above description, as I have been a little 
sick for two or three days, and having eaten little or 
nothing am quite weak. Besides which I am very apt, 
when I get through the excitement of the day, to sit 
down quietly and think of home and my dear ones there, 
so that the others frequently ask me what the matter 
is, and why I look so sad, when I am really enjoying 
myself much more than I could by laughing and talking 
with them. 


The weather has been frightfully hot all day, so that 
we have almost roasted ; still the heat has enabled us to 
dry our bed-clothes, so we don't complain. 

Friday Evening, June 20, 1862. 

I was obliged to cut my letter short last night, as I 
became quite sick, and had to lie down. 

I have been in bed all day, and having taken some 
" horse medicine," and eaten nothing, I feel very weak, 
but am, on the whole, rather better than I was yester- 
day ; will probably be all right in the morning. 

Thino's beoin to look as thouo-h we should have the 
great fight very soon now. Our lines are being pushed 
slowly but surely forward, until now our pickets are 
within one hundred and fifty yards of the enemy. 

I rode out about half a mile from here, yesterday, to 
see about some bridges which our men are building, to 
enable our artillery to cross some very deep ravines 
between ois and the enemy, and leaving my horse in a 
thick wood, I went forward to where our outside pickets 
are stationed, and was surprised to find that the " secesh- 
ers " were posted so near that we could almost speak to 
them. A little wood near by was full of them, and 
quite a pretty picture they made too, in their bandit 
uniforms and broad-brimmed hats and plumes. They 
wear clothes made of a kind of gray homespun, and in- 
stead of tight-fitting coats like our soldiers, they wear a 
loose blouse, which being confined at the waist, reminds 
one very strongly of the old pictures of Robin Hood's 
men, as they dodge in and out behind the trees. They 
tell our men that they have received orders not to fire 
upon our pickets, unless first fired upon ; so there they 
stand looking at each other all day long. Now and 
then one of them will come out of the woods and wave 
his hat, or raise it on the top of his musket ; then, per- 
haps, call out to one of our men, who will respond in a 
similar manner, making it extremely difficult to realize 


that at any moment they may receive orders to com- 
mence killing each other. 

Just behind where their pickets were so near us, the 
rebels have put up quite a formidable earthwork, and I 
could see the sentinel standing by one of their brass 
guns, and watching us very earnestly, as though he 
would like exceedingly to try what effect a little can- 
nister shot would have upon us. 

We expected that we should move forward at dawn 
this morning, as we heard yesterday that we were wait- 
ing only for the completion of some little bridges, which 
were to have been finished last night ; but no orders have 
come, as yet, so we cannot tell when we shall " pitch in." 
The sooner the better, as far as I am concerned. 

I do not think our artillery will have as much to do 
as the infantry, in the coming battles, as our troops are 
learning to rely greatly upon the bayonet, and I am sat- 
isfied that if the rebels are once broken and started to- 
ward Richmond, our boys will never let them stop as 
long as two remain together. The artillery will prob- 
ably open the ball, but once get our infantry started in 
a charge, and I am afraid it will be difficult for the artil- 
lery to keep up with them. 

It is splendid to witness the perfect confidence of our 
troojDS in their ability to whip any force which may be 
broudit aojainst them. Even the resjiments which were 
so dreadfully cut up in the late battles are waiting with 
the greatest eagerness to have an . opportunity of aveng- 
ing their fallen comrades. 

The rebels have been firing into our hospital this 
afternoon, probably thinking it was the head-quarters of 
some of our generals. They got the range of the house 
to a nicety, and when Doctor Davis went over there 
about two hours since, he found the sick men scrambling 
for the woods in the neighborhood ; and while he stood 
there, two thirty-pounder rifle shells passed through the 
house, making a noise like a locomotive. The doctor 


immediately placed those who were too sick to get out 
of the house iu the cellar, but they will all be moved to 
some place out of range. 

How I wish papa or James could be out here one 
'day with me, just to hear and see some of the newly in- 
vented rifle projectiles whirring and whistling through 
the air. They sound exactly like a locomotive and traui 
of cars going over one's head. 

It was only seven days after the events narrated 
in tills letter, that General McClellan, having 
decided upon a change of base to the James River, 
commenced the famous retreat of seven days, which, 
whatever may be the opinion of the wisdom of the 
move, was conducted in such a manner as to reflect 
high credit on the army and its commander, and 
was the scene of some of the greatest hardships 
and mostdesperate conflicts of the war. Fighting 
all day, and marching all night, pushing their way 
across a dreary country, through dense woods and 
tangled undergrowth, across sluggish streams, the 
horrors of that retreat can scarcely be exaggerated. 

We next hear of Howard Kitching at the battle 
of Gaines' Mills, where the troops first made a 
stand after their retrograde movement commenced. 
General Upton writes : " We entered the battle 
about four P. M., at once engaged the enemy's artil- 
■ lery, and remained till nearly dark under a heavy 
fire of shell and case shot. 

"- The right and centre sections of the battery 
were somewhat covered, but the left, commanded 
by Captain Kitching, was exposed to the full view 
of the enemy, and received much more than its 


proportion of fire. During the entire battle he 
served his guns with great coolness, and was a 
brilliant example to the men. 

" He received in the breast a most painful contu- 
sion from the fragment of a shell, but did not quit 
his post." 

We do not give this testimony to the manliness 
and courage of Howard Kitching because he was 
singular in this respect. O ! how many young 
hearts, as loving and as brave and heroic as his, 
were hushed forever amid these scenes of havoc 
and of death ! The world will never know how 
they fought, and how they died, but may be able to 
get a clearer view of their patient endurance, and 
true heroism, in the mirror of a comrade's history. 

We shall not follow the weary tread of the 
Union army any further. The painful story is 
recorded by other pens. When they reached Har- 
rison's Landing, from constant exposure, unceasing 
excitement, and sleepless nights, passed in the sad- 
dle, Howard Kitching was seriously ill. 

He readily obtained leave of absence, and soon 
after his return home, resigned his position in the 
Army of the Potomac. 

It is astonishing, as has been remarked, that an 
army of volunteers, after such a struggle, should 
come forth in condition equal to, if not better, than 
could have been exhibited by the veterans of any 
of the standing armies of the Old World. It 
was of course owing to the possession of qualities 
by the volunteers of our repubhcan army, which 


appertain to the soldiers of no other army. Our 
troops possessed intelligence, personal character, an 
absorbing interest in the struggle, and a boundless, 
unselfish devotion to country ; these, added to the 
drill, the esprit du corps, and the mechanical 
mobility of other armies, produce a military force, 
which may be temporarily beaten without being 
vanquished, which may render retreat victory, and 
which, though it may be decimated in numbers, has 
the vitality and cohesive force deeply implanted in 
its nature, which makes it practically invincible, as 
no troops without these noble moral qualities can 
be said to be. 

No army could have been put to a more severe 
test of its mettle, than that to which the army of 
the Potomac had just been subjected; and from 
all we can learn, we judge there never was an 
army put to such a test, that came forth with such 
honor, in a mihtary point of view. 


He sendeth sun, He sendetli shower, 
Alike they're needful for the liower ; 
And joys and tears alike are sent, 
To shre the soul fit nourishment ; 
As comes to me or cloud or sun, 
Father, thy will, not mine, be done ! " 



" And now naen see not the bright h'ght which is in the clouds; but 
the wind passeth and cleanseth them." — Job xxxvii. 21. 

Howard Kitching's return home was wel- 
comed with a joy deepened by the memory of the 
perils through which he had passed, though shad- 
owed by the apprehensions springing from his 
shattered health. In the hope of arresting his 
malady and recruiting his vStrength, the family 
went with him to Oscowana, that beautiful sheet 
of water, lying among the hills that look down 
upon West Point. And there, sailing upon the 
lake, or rambling in the woods that wave their 
branches all along its border, he seon began to re- 
cover his wonted vigor, and mth restored health, 
his restless desire to be Avith those who were fight- 
ing for their country returned. 

In vain his friends contended that he had done 
as much for the cause as could reasonably be de- 
manded of }iim, and that there were crowds of 
young men at the Xorth, who had neither wife nor 
child, who had done nothing for the country, and 
who ought now to go to the front, where they were 


But lie felt that lie was now more needed than 
ever. There was a general feeling of discourage- 
ment throughout the North, and he argued that 
his services were now peculiarly demanded. He 
felt that he was fitted, as only the experience 
through which he had passed could fit him, to 
command troops in the fearful struggle that every 
thoughtful person knew wiis yet impending, before 
the end could be attained. 

He had been on a visit to New York, and 
startled his friends, on his return, vnth the -an- 
nouncement that he was going back to the field 
again. Colonel William Morris, of the 135th 
Infantry, had invited him to go with him as 
acting lieutenant-colonel. Difficult was it for 
those who loved him to spare him again, only 
partially recovered, to encounter the hardships 
and risks of war. But what he had suffered 
for the cause for which he had been fighting had 
only deepened his interest in the gigantic struggle. 
Sad was that parting. In that quiet spot in the 
mountains, many a pmyer arose, and the blessing 
of many aching hearts went with him. 

The regiment left New York on the 5th of Sep- 
tember, and on reaching Baltimore, they were 
quartered in Fort McHenry, and soon after, the 
regiment was changed into the 6th regiment of 

About the middle of October, Stuart made liis 
famous raid into Pennsylvania. Crossing the Po- 
tomac with fifteen hundred troopers, he passed 


through Maryland, occupied Chambersburg, and 
after making the entire circuit of the Union army, 
recrossed the Potomac. Colonel Kitching's regi- 
ment was sent to try to intercept this daring 
trooper, but returned after some hard marching, 
without having seen him. 

Referring to this event, he says in a letter of 
October 16th : — 

My own darling Mamma : — I have just returned 
from a wild-goOse chase, through several counties in 
Pennsylvania, after Stuart, and as I am really tired out, 
not having slei)t any on a bed, or had my clothes or 
boots off since Friday last, I am sure you will not ex- 
pect me to write to any one 

Early in January, 1863, his command was re- 
moved to Harper's Ferry. In a brief note to his 
father, alluding to this, he says : — 

I have just received orders to report, with my com- 
mand (six companies), to Brigadier-general Kelly, at 
Harper's Ferry. So I have issued orders to have tents 
struck at daylight in the morning, and the command, 
ready to march at 9 a. m., with two days' cooked ra- 

I am glad to move for many reasons, which I will ex- 
plain when I have time ; and I cannot help feeling a 
certain decree of exhikiration at the chance of see in s 
another brush with our mutual friend Jackson, who they 
say is advancing up the Shenandoah again. 

Two weeks later, the lieutenant-colonel having 
reported himself for duty, Colonel Kitching was 
removed, and returned home. Very soon after 
this, Colonel Morris being promoted, he was ap- 


pointed Colonel, and immediately repaired to his 
post. Captain Donaldson, a brave young officer, 
who was with him throughout his subsequent ca- 
reer, and who frequently distinguished himself by 
his gallantry, thus writes of this time : — 

As adjutant of his command, I had many opportu- 
nities of noticing the affection with which he was re- 
garded by all who were under his care. Who of the 
6th New York Artillery, will forget the gloom cast over 
our camp, when an order from the War Department re- 
moved him from us as our lieutenant-colonel ; and later, 
the joy which filled every heart, when the news reached 
us, that he had been made the colonel of our regiment ? 
Returning to us on a dreary, rainy day, I can even now, 
in fancy, hear the gentle rebuke that fell from his lips, 
because we had allowed the men to turn out in such a 
storm, to do him honor. Little, though, did the brave 
fellows heed the rain, so long as he, their honored com- 
mander, was in their midst. The interest and welfare of 
his men were always looked after by Colonel Kitching, 
and w^hether in camp or on the march, a man had never 
twice to relate a grievance, either real or fancied, with- 
out receiving such counsel and advice as would tend to 
lighten his burden, and cause him to return to duty with 
that zest and heartiness, w^hich should ever characterize 
every good soldier. 

We give a copy of the order issued by Colonel 
Kitching, on assuming the command of his regi- 
ment : — 

Head-quaeters, 6th N. Y. Artillery, \ 
Camp Haight, Ajjril 16, 1863. j 


Pursuant to special order No. 23, Head-quarters Second 
Brigade, First Division, Eighth Army Corps, the under- 


signed hereby assumes command of the Sixth Regiment, 
New York Artillery. 

All orders heretofore published will continue in force 
till further notice. 

The commanding officer is induced by the recollection 
of his pleasant association with the command, as its 
lieutenant-colonel, to anticipate a bright and glorious 
future in store for the regiment, and assures his fellow- 
soldiers, both officers and men, that while making their 
comfort and welfare his first care, his ambition will be to 
render the regiment the first in the service in point of 
drill, discipline, and eiiiciency. 

To accomplish this most desirable result, it is neces- 
sary that all should unite in a determination to learn 
their duty thoroughly, and perform it conscientiously. 
Strict and prompt obedience to order, is expected and 
will be enforced ; the responsibility of the expediency 
of the order beino- left with the officer issuino^ it. Li 
no other way can that discipline be maintained, so neces- 
sary to the welfare and effectiveness of any military 
organization. It is the determination of the command- 
ing officer to advance those who by closest attention to 
their duties and ability in performing them, show that 
they will be useful officers in a higher grade. 

He hopes and believes that the same unanimity of 
feeling and purpose which has hitherto rendered this 
regiment an example to others, will continue to exist and 
increase ; and that whether in the dull routine of camp 
duties, or amid the excitement of the battle-field, we 
may always stand shoulder to shoulder — alike true to 
ourselves as Christian soldiers, to our noble regiment,, 
and to our glorious cause. 

(Signed) J. Howard Kitching, 

Colonel 6th JN. T. Artillery. 

E. Donaldson, Adjutant. 

In the letter that follows, we find him aojain 


mourning over his troubled and discordant Sunday- 
duties, and yet, amidst it all, rejoicing in a present 



Camp Haight, Maryland Heights, April 26, 1803, | 
Sunday Morning. ) 

.... This has been neither a jileasant nor a profit- 
able Sunday to me. The paymaster came this morning, 
and in addition to the excitement and bustle consequent 
upon the companies being paid off, the paymaster him- 
self got very drunk — taking all day to pay three com- 
panies, when he should have paid the entire regiment 
before night. I stood it as long as I could in camp, and 
then, leaving the major m command, and seeing every- 
thing in good order, I mounted the gray, and rode over 
into Virginia to a little Methodist church. 

I tried to enjoy the sermon, but there was an illiterate 
man in the pulpit who twisted the beautiful words of 
Scripture into such terrible jargon that it was truly pain- 
ful to me. 

You remember that Sunday was always a very tire- * 
some day for me in camp. I inspected over six hundred 
muskets this morning with my own hands. If I could 
only be left alone some of the time during the day, so 
that I could read and think, I should be all right 

I have just piu-chased a plate, knife, fork, spoon, etc., 
and my man James is going to cook for me, so I shall be 
quite independent. But since I have been here, I have 
been living like a pig, — the only decent meals having 

been at Mrs. M 's tent. She is a very nice woman ; 

lives here with two children in the midst of all this sick- 
ness, and is always as cheerful as if she had everything 
just as she could wish. Captain P 's wife is danger- 
ously ill here with fever. They all thought she would cer- 
tainly die yesterday, but she appears brighter to-day. . . . 

The Lord Jesus has been very dear to me lately, not- 
withstanding all my backslidings, all my open as weU as 


secret sins, my forgetfulness of Him ; yet just at the time 
when I needed Him most, He came, and here amidst all 
my cares, troubles, and perplexities. He has been very 
near to me. . If I could only tell my darling all I feel, 
I should be very, very happy. 

Mamma gave me a dear little book of Hymns on Christ- 
mas in which I take great comfort, the little time I can 
get to read it. There are many beautiful things in it, 
that seem to be intended to reach om* own case, in almost 
everything. One little verse runs in my head all the 
time, — 

"Here in the body pent, 
Absent from Him I roam, 
Yet nightly pitch my moving tent 
A day's march nearer home." 

There was no one thing more striking, more ad- 
mirable, than the cheerful courage with which our 
young soldiers, who had so many of them been so 
tenderly reared, endured hardness, and suffering of 
tlie extremest kind. How gloriously the spiritual 
triumphed over the animal. In what an uncom- 
plaining spirit the following letter is written : — 

Camp Haight, Makylaxd Heights, May 5, 1863. 

.... I have not been able to write much lately, for 
half of my regiment is on the other side of the river 
guarding Harper's Ferry, and as we are the only entire 
regiment here now, and are rather expecting an attack, 
I have been in the saddle most of the time day and night. 
Major Crookston is in command of the five companies 
on the other side, but I am obliged to look after them, 
particularly at night. If the rebels were only^ smart 
enough to attack us now, they could take the place very 
easily, for we have not force enough to hold the Heights. 

My command is in a terrible condition just now from 
a combination of causes. Fourteen of my officers are 


absent — sick, and detailed on duty outside the regiment. 
Many of the companies are reduced to skeletons by sick- 
ness and death. I was just in the midst of moving to 
my new camp ground when this terrible storm (raging 
now) overtook us, consequently half my camp is in one 
place and half in another. My quartermaster has been 
taken very sick, and cannot be moved. 

Many of my officers (including myself) have no tents, 
as we have been living in log-huts, and the quartermaster 
of this division, who should have had tents on hand, has 
none, so that many of us are really without shelter of 
our own. I have sent my new lieutenant-colonel over 
to the new camp, and I am obliged to sleep here in my 
hut, with one sentry in front of my door to let me know 
if the enemy come. If my regiment was all together in 
one camp, I would be with them, even though I had to 
sleejD out on the ground, but having it divided, it is quite 
proper for me to be at any point between the fragments. 

My hut is no protection from this storm, however, for 
it rains right through, so that my bed, over which I have 
laid an india-rubber blanket, has a puddle of water in 
the centre three or four inches deep. All my clothes, 
books, papers, and everything are more or less wet, but 
I keep a cheerful fire in my open fire-place which bright- 
ens me up a little. 

My new camp will be beautiful if I can ever get my 
regiment together again. 

1 believe I wrote you of the death of Lieutenant H , 

of Company " G." We escorted his body to the cars, 
this morning. Poor fellow ! how 1 wish that I could be- 
lieve him a Christian 

I expected j^apa to-day, but am rather glad that he 
did ndt come just at this time, for I want to show him 
my regiment all together when he comes ; not, as now, 
split up into squads here and there ; and indeed I do not 
know how I could make him comfortable in this awful 


If I get into Fort Marshall, I am satisfied that 1 can 
fill up the regiment very soon. 

I am worked very hard, darling, have scarcely time 
to read my Bible or say my prayers. Do not forget to 
pray for me. 

Sunshine after the storm. 

Camp Bakry, Maryland Heights, Saturdmj Evening, \ 

May 9, 1863. ) 

My own Darling : — I have gotten nicely fixed in 
my new camp ; the weather is beautiful, the sick are all 
improving, officers and men are all happy, and I am 
happy too. My camp is already acknowledged to be 
the most beautiful camp extant. We have been fur- 
nished with new tents, perfectly white, and I have had 
each street lined with little fir-trees, and the spaces around 
the tents carefully sodded, so that it begins to look like 
a fairy scene. Nor have we neglected ventilation and 
healthfulness, for the tents are so arranged that every 
morning immediately after reveille, every tent in camp 
is raised from the floor so that everything is exposed 
to the air. All clothes, blankets, etc., are hung out till 
nine o'clock a. m., when the tents are let down, and the 
things placed inside in proper shape. 

I have not yet had my own tent fixed (outside), for I 
wished the men to get themselves in comfortable shape 
before calling on them to attend to me. But I intend 
on Monday to have some nice trees planted around my 
own tent, and to make it as ornamental as possible. O, if 
you could only see it now with the little tents lighted up, 
and shining through the trees ; the " tattoo " just beating, 

r PT"^ ^— :!^ you remember ! and here and there 
U/t^^j^^-^^^^^lH a si'oup of dusky fisjures collected 

^-XT" like gypsies, m one spot, you would 

say that it was the most beautiful sight that you ever 

I do hope that papa will come before we move, for I 
do want him to see it very much. 


I am working very hard upon some new fortifications 
which are building here in anticipation of an attack; 
two hundred men from my regiment being detailed daily 
for that purpose. 

We have just heard that General Keyes has entered 
Richmond, and the whole country is wild with excite- 
ment. I do not know whether to credit it or not, but 
hope that if true, we can hold on till Hooker can push 
Lee to starvation. 

You will see that Hooker's defeat has verified my 
ideas of his inability to control so large an army ; for 
you see that although he fought one third of his army 
magnificently, bravely, as he always has, yet the other 
two thirds were entirely beyond his control, and forced 
to act on their own responsibihty. However, he did his 

If possible, I shall get some photographer to come up 
here and take the camp ; and all my otficers, myself in- 
cluded, and my head-quarters 

C- M is doing splendidly ; stands up to his 

Christian principles like a man, is not afraid of any 
one's opinion, and is improving so rapidly that it is 
truly w^onderful. 

I am getting my matters into nice shape The 

departments at Washington seem disposed to give me 
all the aid in their power ; send me books, blanks, cir- 
culars, and explanations, so that I have really sculled 
my canoe into smooth water, and shall endeavor to keep 
it there 

Do you read the chapter regularly, darling ? What a 
glorious chapter for to-night ; the fifth chapter of First 
Thessalonians, and how the twenty-fourth verse seems 
to cover everything, '' Faithful is he that calleth you, who 
also will do it." 

The little book of " Devotional Hymns " which 
mamma gave me, is a source of great pleasure to me ; 
many of the hymns are truly lovely. 1 have started a 


subscription for a soldier's library, which, if we are or- 
dered to some permanent post, can be made a som-ce of 
much benefit as well as comfort to the men. 

I had the first case of open rebellion to-day, and am 
happy to say the effect has been salutary. A "fighting 
man" (Irish, of course) in Company F., refused to obey 
his captain when told to take a spade and go to work ; 
and his captain foolishly sent him to the guard-house 
instead of enforcing obedience. When I heard of it, I 
sent for the man to be brought to his own company 
street (where it occurred), and after asking Captain 
Morris to state the circumstances, I ordered him to go to 
work, before the whole company, or in fact, the regiment, 
for the men had found out that " something was up." 

He did not absolutely refuse in words, but he put his 
hands in his pockets, and said that I had no right to 
make him work, or something of that sort. I told him 
even then that " I would give him one more chance ; that 
every man in the regiment knew that although I did 
not talk very loud, or use profane language, when I said 
anything, I meant it, and that I never would permit 
a man to disobey me;" and then ordered him to go 
to work. He did not move at once, so I got off my 
horse, and took him by the collar, the natural result 
being, that he took the shovel and went to work in good 

After he had finished his task, I sent for him to my 
tent, and succeeded in convincing him that " he had been 
a fool," and he promised that I should never have any 
trouble with him in future. I tell you all this, dar- 
ling, because 1 suppose everything m my d.aily expe- 
rience interests you. Tell papa to come on right 


Howard's testimony to the value of reading the 
Bible systematically, whether, as he did, according 
to the admirable order in the book of Common 


Prayer, or on any other plan, will be responded to 
by every Christian. How often the portion for the 
day will be like the spring in the desert to the 
thirsty traveller, welhng up with its waters of 
refreshment, the same living fountain he has met 
before ; but found at just that time, possessing a 
cool, reviving power, of priceless value. Careless, 
desultory reading brings little profit, and has a 
tendency to dull the feelings, and incrust the heart, 
so as to make it impenetrable to the sword of the 

The Confederate leaders had resolved, at this 
time, to commence an invasion of the Loyal States, 
and in prosecution of this plan, Ewell had ad- 
vanced upon Winchester, and had driven General 
Milroy into his works around the town. The fol- 
lowing night Milroy abandoned his position, but 
his force being intercepted, a good part of it was 
captured in the confused mSlSe. Upon receiving 
these tidings, the garrison withdrew to Maryland 
Heights, and from the letter that follows, we see 
that they had no thought of surrendering that im- 
portant post without a brave resistance. 

Camp Barry (Harper's Ferry), Monday Morning, ) 
4 o'clock, June 15, 1863. ) 

My own Darling: — I am beginning to feel quite at 
home now, as the rebs are on all sides of us, and we are 
all in " line of battle," expecting an attack. Our Gen- 
eral Mih'oy has managed in some way to let them get 
between him and us, and cut him otf with ten thousand 
men who ought to be here with us. 

We are about four thousand strong, and will do some 


fighting before we give up the place ; but we must be 
reinforced, for the odds are fearfully against us ; Ewell 
having at least thirty thousand men. 

How I thank the Lord that you are not here now. 
General Kelly has just sent up a train to take the women 
and children to Baltimore, and I am truly thankful that 
you are not of the number. 

I have ten companies of my regiment with me, in all, 
about six hundred men. The other two companies are 
upon the heights. I have been ordered to hold Fort 
Duncan, if I am driven from the open plain ; and I was 
up there last night, getting things in shape, and having 
the guns mounted. 

Don't be anxious, my darling. I shall not be much 
exposed, I trust, and the same kind Father who has al- 
ready brought me through so many dangers will be with 
me still. 

Perhaps we may not have any fighting, after all. Will 
write as f^et a chance to send a letter. This will be 
taken to Baltimore by this morning's train, the last 
which will leave here for some time, I guess. 

Love to all the dear ones ; and 0, so much to our 
darling boy. 

Do not think our case desperate, my darling. We 
have a splendid position, and I trust can hold it. I 
thought better to tell you the truth. My pay is due 
from the first of May, to this time. Write me as usual. 
I have not a moment, so must stop. God bless you, my 
own little " birdie." Don't forget your Redeemer, nor 
Your own Howard. 

The anticipated investment of Harper's Ferry 
did not take place, and Colonel Kitcliing's regi- 
ment remained there until after the battle of Get- 
tysburg, when the government, eager to put into 
the hands of General Meade everything needed to 


assure the destruction of Lee's army, directed the 
abandonment of Harper's Ferry ; and the troops 
that had been defending it, under General French, 
joined the army of the Potomac, and by forced 
marches, attempted to intercept Lee's army at the 
pass of South Mountain. 

On reaching Crampton Gap, after a very severe 
march over ahnost impassable roads, and hearing 
that the enemy were in force in their front, Colonel 
Kitching halted his column, and went into posi- 

In his pocket memorandum, we find the follow- 
ing entry : — 

In line of battle, just going into action, ) 
Sunday, July 12, 1863. ) 

My darling H : If anything should happen 

to me, good-by. God bless my darhngs, both. Don't 
forget your Howy, but above all, don't forget the Lord 

There is pay due me from May 1st to the date of 
my death ; ask papa to get it. 

Bid all my dear ones good-by. God bless you, my 
own little comfort ; you have been God's choicest bless- 
ing to me, next to my redemption by the blood of his 
dear Son. 

Bring Howy up to love me, darling ! I have noth- 
ing to leave you but my blessing. My trunk is at Har- 
per's Ferry. Your own Howard. 

The rebels declined the battle, and withdrew 
quietly in the night. The pursuit was continued, 
and the enemy was overtaken and defeated, as we 
find from the next entry in his diary. 



FHday, July 23. 

Marched from Piedmont to Manassas Gap. Found 
the gap held by General Hill, with sixteen thousand men. 
Attacked him and took possession of the Pass, driving 
the enemy to Front Royal. He evacuated in the night. 
Loss on om- side seventy -five. 

Head-quakters 1st Brigade, 3d Division, \ 
August 10, 1863. ) 

.... Here is your warrior husband commanding a 
brigade, and the largest brigade in the army, too. Gen- 
eral Elliott, who has commanded the division, is absent 
in Washington on a court of inquiry, and in his ab- 
sence Morris commands the division, and I the bri- 
gade I have, of course, moved my quarters 

over to brigade head-quarters, and am really becoming 
quite a B. G., /. e. '' Big Gun." .... 

You should see me! The box sent by papa has not 
arrived, and I am as black and dirty as you can imagine. 
My clothes, outside, have become so soiled from lying 
upon the ground, that I look like some of those dirty 
rebel officers that you used to see at Fort McHenry ; 
and then I am as black as an Indian, so you can imagine 
the general effect 

This experience of the past two years and a half, has 
given me a great abundance of self-reliance, and I am 
just as confident that if God spares my life I shall be 
able to get along as a business man, as I am now in 
attempting to command a division, if I had one. 

General Lee made good his retreat, and the 
march was conducted leisurely toAvards the Rap- 
pahannock, and when encamped in the neighbor- 
hood of Warrenton, the next letters were written. 

The sadness of heart which comes over him, as 
he looks out upon a weary, suffering, unsatisfac- 


tory world, depicted in tlie next letter, is in accord 
with these lines, marked by him, in his copy of the 
" Hymn from the Land of Luther," which he always 
carried with him : — 

" How weary and how worthless this life at times appears ! 
What days of heavy musing, what hours of bitter tears ! 
How dark the storm-clouds gather along the wintry 

How desolate and cheerless the path before us lies ! 

"And yet these days of dreariness are sent us from above : 
They do not come in anger, but in faithfulness and 

love ; 
They come to teach us lessons which bright ones could 

not yield, 
And to leave us blest and thankful when their purpose 

is fulfilled. 

" They come to draw us nearer to our Father and our 

More earnestly to seek his face, to listen to his word, 
And to feel, if now around us a desert land we see, 
Without the star of promise, what would its darkness 


" They come to lay us lowly, and humbled in the dust, 
All self-deception swept away, all creature hope and 

trust ; 
Our helplessness, our vileness, our guiltiness to own. 
And flee, for hope and refuge, to Christ, and Christ 


" They come to break the fetters which here detain us 
And force our long reluctant hearts to rise to heaven 
at last ; 


And brighten every prospect of that eternal home, 
Where grief and disappointment and fear can never 

Artillery Reserve, Warrektox Junction, August 25, 1863". 

.... What a hard, unsatisfactory world this is, and', 
how discouraging would all our efforts be, were this all 
we have to look forward to ! But thank God, this is only 
the work-house to fit us for our heavenly home, the 
mansion of rest, beyond the river. The whole wide 
world presents the same scenes, men toiling, strivings 
fighting, suffering ; and how few, if any, attain the antic- 
ipated result of their labors and their pains. 

I get terribly blue sometimes, when I think I am ex- 
pending the very best years of my life, and I am tempted 
to think that perhaps my worldly interests and prospects 
would have been much farther advanced had I taken a^ 
different IJourse. But then again, I hiow that such a 
cause deserves our all, if necessary, and I trust that in 
years to come I may see that it was well for me that I 
was led into this conflict. Certainly a loving Hand has 
guided my footsteps thus far. I have been enabled to 
take my part in the great strife, to bear my share of 
the burden, without the suffering borne by many others, 
and without entailing suffering and desolation on my 
friends ; and I am often led to wonder why the Lord has 
dealt so mercifully with me. 

You will remember that I was prevented from taking- 
command of the 24th infantry last winter, by arriving 
in Albany one day too late. The colonel who was ap- 
pointed to it was killed at Chancellors ville. The three- 
colonels who accompanied me into Pennsylvania last 
fall, after the rebel Stuart, are all dead — two killed 
under Geueral Banks, and one at Gettysburg. 

We are doing nothing here ; we hear that Lee. is being 
heavily reinforced, but cannot tell as to the reliability of 
the report. 



General Meade (so I hear to-day) climbed Water 
Mountain, near Warrenton, last night, and was much 
surprised at the extent of the enemy's camp-fires. 

I have jumped (temporarily) into rather an extended 
and extensive command, being, during the absence of 
General Tyler, in command of the whole artillery re- 
serve, consisting of thirty batteries, two regiments of 
infantry, and about three hundred ammunition wagons. 
Having been confined to my tent since my arrival here 
last Saturday, I do not let the command worry me much. 

I am, I trust, getting better now. My original trouble 
is very much better ; and what between blistering outside, 
and plenty of castor oil in, something had to get better, 

or worse We are having a terribly cold spell 

just now, and both officers and men feel it exceedingly, 
having left everything but one blanket at Frederick and 
Harper's Ferry. The men have only one coat, no 
overcoat, and only one blanket; and having no tents, 
they feel the change very much. I have obtained a new 
suit of clothes for them, which I hear will be here to- 

To-night, I have arranged matters with a view to 
keeping warm, if possible. I have had a very large 
wood fire built right in front of my tent, and the sentry 
on guard will keep it going all night, miless the wind 
changes — in which case, his orders are to " stop 
putting on wood," as it would certainly smoke me out. 
I intend to go to bed in my overcoat, and hope that I 
shall keep warm 

Head-quarters 6th N. Y. Artillery, ) 

Artillery Reserve, August 27, 1863. j 

.... I will scribble you a few lines to-night before 
sleeping, to tell you that I am considerably better than 
yesterday, and hoping to be all right in a day or two. 

The blister which the doctor put on last night seems 
to have done me good ; much of the terrible pain suffered 


yesterday is gone, and I have now some appetite. 
There is a cold storm blowing up which makes my little 
open tent in these dark woods seem very cheerless, and 
the raw autumn wind rushinoj throuc^h the trees has a 
tendency to make me homesick. 

So long as I am well, and able to be moving about 
and attending to my daily duties, I can stand this misera- 
ble kind of life very well ; but to lie on my back on my 
little camp bed, with one blanket, unable to do anything 
but think, it becomes quite a different matter to one who 
has always had such kind, loving hands to minister to him 
in sickness. 

My camp here is in a very thick wood composed of 
oak-trees, some of them very high, and the storm howls 
through them making a hideous noise, and bending the 
great trunks as though they were saplings. I have just 
ordered my corps of pioneers to sound all the trees in 
our immediate vicinity, fearing lest some of them, being 
rotten, might blow down and injure some of the men. 

The health of the regiment, and indeed the army, is 
not good. I have nearly one hundred men sick, and 
many of my officers. One of my captains was smitten 
with typhoid on our march to this place, and although 
I left him at a very nice house on the road, with the best 
doctor to attend him, yet I fear he cannot live but a day 
or two, and have telegraphed to his father. It is a ter- 
rible case. He is, or professes to be, a skeptic; has 
always railed at religion and everything of the kind. I 
have had several conversations with him since I took 
command of the regiment, but they have always ap- 
peared to be unprofitable, and now he is delirious, and 
the doctor tells me that it is terrible to hear him rave 
and swear. 

I wish that I could get to him, but it is impossible, 
for he is seven miles from this and I am too weak to ride. 
In his lucid moments, all his bravado and boldness appear 
to have left him, and he cries like a child. He was a 


good soldier, in the common sense of the term, — uncom- 
phiining, prompt, and a good disciplinarian, — but, poor 
fellow, he scoffed at the only means whereby his poor 
sinful soul could be cleansed and made fit to inherit 
eternal life; and now God has cut him down in his 
pride and manliness as a warning to us all. I pray God 
that he may yet recover, but Doctor Porter thinks that 
there is little, if any hope. 

One cause of the sickness in the army, and regiment, 
is the bad quality of the water ; we are worse off in our 
present location in this respect, than we have been yet. 
Fortunately for me, I use very little water, seldom 
drinking between meals, and at meals having either tea 
or coffee. 

I am now busy digging wells, hoping to obtain a better 
quality of water ; but I really hope tliat the army may 
fall back upon the line of Occoquan Creek and Fairfax 
Court House, if for nothing else than jjlenty of good 

I learned long since on the Peninsula that a soldier 
who drinks water in any considerable quantity while on 
the march, changing its medicinal properties as it does 
at every mile in the road, must inevitably get sick. I 
abstain scrupulously while on the march, and try to 
convince the men how injurious it is ; but it is impossi- 
ble, 'i'hey will rush for a mud-puddle, as soon as they 
are permitted to leave the ranks, and the consequence is 
a universal prevalence of diarrhoea. 

I ought from my experience here to be a most exem- 
plary " Paterfamilias " after the war, for these men 
have to be treated just like children, and I have ten 
hundred and thirty-seven under my charge — to be fed, 
clothed, punished, praised, thought for, and thought of 
constantly. How weary I am becoming of tliis constant 
anxiety and care, for not a thing transpires in the regi- 
ment, however trivial its character, that is not in some 
way referred to me, and causes me more or less 


The autumn of this year was spent by Generals 
Meade and Lee in attempts to outmanoeuvre each 
other, with varied success ; and in December both 
armies, as if by consent, settled down in winter 
quarters, to recuperate from the wear and tear of 
the trying season of 1863, and renew their strength 
for the impending shock of arms, in the spring. 

Lee held the south bank of the Rapidan, his 
forces being distributed from the river along the 
Orange Court House and Gordonsville road. The 
army of the Potomac established itself along the 
Orange and Alexandria Railroad from the Rapidan 
back to the Rappahannock. The ranks of both 
armies were filled up by recruits ; and drills, in- 
spections, and reviews were energetically pushed 
forward-within the opposing camps. 

Fully occupied as Colonel Kitching was with 
the arduous duties of his command, he did not neg- 
lect, during this period of comparative quiet, his 
Master's work. He was much aided in this, by the 
timely arrival, on the 10th of December, of Mr. 

C , the chaplain of the regiment, who proved 

a faithful co-worker all through the war. 

With his aid, Bible classes and prayer-meetings 
were held in the colonel's quarters every evening, 
and the place was crowded with the soldiers, many 
of whom passed from death unto life. We well 
remember Howard's beaming look as he dwelt upon 
these evidences of a genuine work of grace, and we 
believe this hymn, which we find marked in his 
little book, dated at this time, truly portrays the 
history of his inner life : — 


Sunday, December 20, 1863. 
" My beloved is mine, and I am his." — Cant. ii. 16. 

" Long did I toil, and know no earthly rest, 
Far did I rove, and found no certain home ; 
At last I sought them in his sheltering breast, 

Who opes his arms, and bids the weary come ; 
In Christ I found a home, a rest divme. 
And since then I am his, and He is mine. 

" Yes ! He is mine ! and naught of earthly things — 
Not all the charms of pleasure, wealth, or power, 

The fame of heroes or the pomp of kings — 
Could tempt me to forego his love an hour. 

' Go, worthless world,' I cry, ' with all that 's thine ; 

Go, I my Saviour's am, and He is mine.' 

*' The good I have is from his stores supplied. 
The ill is only what He deems the best ; 
He for my friend, I'm rich with naught beside, 

And poor without Him, though of all possessed : 
Changes may come — I take, or I resign, 
Content while I am his, and He is mine. 

" While here, alas ! I know but half his love. 
But half discern Him, and but half adore ; 
But when I meet Him in the realms above, 

I hope to love Him better, praise Him more. 
And feel and tell, amid the choir divine, 
How fiilly I am his, and He is mine." 

Colonel Kitching obtained leaye of absence to 
pass the holidays witb his family. 

It was a calm, bright Christmas Day, just such 
a day as we love to picture, in our imagination, as 
fit to usher in this hallowed season, and the services 
of the church had more than their wonted sweet- 


ness, and a thrill of deeper joy than usual went 
round the family group gathered in the home at 
Peekskill, because the absent soldier had returned, 
on furlough, safe and well. The tales of wild 
forays, midnight attacks, skillful retreats, and hair- 
breadth escapes, were listened to with eager ears 
and glowing hearts that night, and before we knelt 
in prayer, Ave sang that sweet version of the 91st 
Psalm, which he loved so well. 

After a happy fortnight spent among liis friends, 
he returned to his post, and the evening after his 
arrival, at the close of a letter he says : — 

" Good-night, dear papa. May the Lord Jesus be 
equally near to all of us, that though we are not all 
able to be in the dear home circle, as in days gone by, 
yet we may be all one in Christ Jesus ! 

" That the dear Lord may be ever with you, is the 
prayer of your loving son, Howaed." 


" Lord, what a change within us one short hour 
Spent in thy presence will prevail to make, 
What heavy burdens from our bosoms take. 
What parched grounds refresh, as with a shower ! 
We kneel, and all around us seems to lower ; 
We rise, and all, the distant and the near, 
Stands forth in sunny outlines, brave and clear ; 
We kneel, how weak ; we rise, how full of power. 
Why therefore should we do ourselves this wrong. 
Or others — that we are not always strong. 
That we are ever overborne with care. 
That we should ever weak or heartless be, 
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer. 
And joy and strength and courage are with thee ? " 

R. C. Trench. 



" He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers 
that water the earth."— Psalm Ixxii. 6. 

With the shadow of home partings over his 
heart, Howard Kitching returned to his camp at 
Brandy Station, soon cheered however, by the hght 
from above that was breaking over the regiment. 

In a letter to the Christian Commission from the 
Rev. A. Cookman, written at this time, we find 
this description of the encampment : — 

The camp of the New York 6th, arranged under 
the direction of Colonel Kitching, is perhaps one of the 
most tasteful and convenient in the army. It is as reg- 
ularly laid out as Philadelphia. On the west of a hill 
are the officers' quarters, some of them so neat that really 
they would not disgrace Central Park. This, of course, 
is the Fifth Avenue of this military community. Im- 
mediately in front of the colonel's tent is the Broadway, 
a broad street which is flanked on either side by the 
soldiers* tents, arranged according to companies, with 
wider and narrower streets. In front of all is the parade 
ground, where each evening the regiment appears on a 
dress parade, and frequently a battalion drill. Surround- 
ing this camp, and a part of the artillery reserve, are 
full batteries from New York, Connecticut, Ohio, Mas- 
sachusetts, Maine, Virginia, and the United States reg- 
ular service. Colonel Burton, acting Brigadier-general, 
has command of the whole, his head-quarters beautifully 
located on a fragment of forest. The forests through 


this section have almost entirely disappeared in provid- 
ing winter quarters and firewood. This is my field of 
effort for a few days. 

Head-quarters Artillery Reserve, ) 
Sunday Evening, January 10, 1864- ) 

My own Darling : — Here I am back again in my 
old tent, with no wife, no boy, " no nothing," but an old 
stove and a camp cot. The sudden transition from the 
comfort and happiness of home to this kind of thing, is 
indeed fearful, — much harder than ever before. I never 
have appreciated or enjoyed my home as much, and never 
have been obliged to return to such complete soldier 
existence, having, as during last winter, been either in 

garrison or in a permanent camp However, I am 

feeling better to-day, and from the present appearance 
of things I shall not have time to feel " blue " or any- 
thing else, during the next fortnight Everybody 

appeared very glad at my return. Two of General 
Tyler's staff officers hugged me, and said that " now their 
troubles were all over, and everything would be all right." 
General Hunt also told me that he was very glad indeed 
that I had returned, and that he did not doubt but that I 
could straighten things out I find that in my ab- 
sence Mr. C has accomplished much. He has 

opened a large chapel tent, capable of holding nearly 
two hundred men ; and on approaching the camp, this 
morning, it was delightful to hear my men singing. How 

thankful I am that the dear Lord sent ]Mr. C here. 

By his blessing it must be the means of bringing many 
of my men to Jesus' feet. God grant it, for his dear 
Son's sake 

Near Beverly Ford, Virginia, January 13, 1864. 
.... I am now commanding the artillery reserve, 
and cannot tell when I shall be relieved I am ter- 
ribly homesick, as a matter of course ; but am so much 


interested in my work here, particularly in my own regi- 
ment, that I cannot regret my decision to remain in the 

service. Mr. C 's labors have been already crowned 

with success, which is most gratifying. His Bible class 
has now forty-three members from my own regiment; 
eleven new ones joined at our meeting last night. 

The men are overjoyed at the religious privileges 
which are now within their reach. After the breakinsc 
up of the meeting last night, Mr. C , his two, col- 
leagues, and myself, had " family prayers," which was 
more refreshing than you can imagine, out here in the 
wilderness. Ask James to please hurry up the books, as 
the men are most anxious to have them. 

I have just succeeded in making my quarters very 
comfortable, but feel the cold very much at night, the 
change is so great. The robe is the greatest comfort to 
me. The first night I put it on top of my other blankets, 
but found that the weight of it made me rather colder 
than bef&re, by impeding the circulation, so now I put it 
inside, and sleej) right on the fur, and it is glorious. 
Thank darling mamma and aunty for the box of eatables. 
I am enjoying them exceedingly. 

. I am very busy reorganizing things here at head-quar- 
ters ; have brought Donaldson over, as acting Assistant 
Adjutant-general, and am sailing the ship pretty much 
on my own hook 

In a very hurried note a few days later, lie 
says : — 

Mr. C has gone to New York to be ordained 

to the ministry. Our work goes bravely on, and it would 
do your heart good to see how my men enjoy and ap- 
preciate the meetings for reading and prayer. 

His inability to speak freely on religious sub- 
jects, which he laments in the next letter, is en- 
tirely distinct from that false shame which shrinks 


from confessing Christ before men. It was doubt- 
less owing to a faulty religious education. And 
the Episcopal Church has, we think, been remiss 
in this matter. It has not urged its members, as 
it should have done, to the taking an active part in 
the conflict with the world, giving each one work 
to do, and showing each person how to do it ; teach- 
ing its members that working for Christ is not to 
be the life of the minister and a few gifted ones in 
the congregation only, but of the feeblest and least 
influential of the flock. The aged man with his 
infirmities, the man in the strength and energy of 
his prime, the boy with all the freshness of his 
young heart, the matron, and the maiden, and the 
young girl, with her winning ways of girlhood, all 
are stewards, all have a place in the vineyard ; for 
each and all the Master has a work to do. 

But we believe that now we can see the raj^s of 
golden -light, the harbingers of a brighter day. 
Our teachers begin to understand the gospel of 
Christ in its fullness : to see that it was sent to 
win every affection, to brighten every smile, to 
shed fresh interest over every pursuit, to light up 
new hopes in every prospect ; to embrace every 
variety of human temperament, assist every degree 
of human capacity ; to understand and to teach 
that all the elements of human progress, which 
God so wonderfully carried on separately as prep- 
arations for his Son on earth, find their confluence 
and their highest employ under that gospel of which 
his Son is the centre and head ; that there never 


was a holy thought, or prophetic yearning, or re- 
sponse of the hfe to the conscience in the land of 
promise, — never a beautiful word or thing in the 
land of intellect or art, — never a just ordinance 
or maxim of public integrity in the land of polity 
and empire, — which that Christianity, which in- 
corporates and hallows the three, is not prepared' 
to adopt, to amplify, to ennoble, to sanctify. We 
shall never have a strong growing Church, until 
Christians are brought up to this standard of the 
Bible, and become practical working Christians. 

Artillery Reserve, near Beverly Ford, Virginli, ) 
Sunday Evening, January 17, 1864. ) 

My oavn precious Mamma : — I had set apart this 
evening particularly to devote in part to you, but I have 
been occupied all day with a murder case which occurred 
last night,_and since my return from jDrayer-meeting, my 
tent has been full of officers visiting me in relation to 
the murder, so that I am now alone for the first time, 
(eleven o'clock, p. m.) 

This murder is a terrible affair. It appears that the 
tent of a sutler for one of the brigades in my command 
was forcibly entered last night, the sutler beaten to 
death, and all his goods destroyed, by men belonging to 
some of the batteries. The facts being reported to me, 
1 immediately ordered a Board of Inquest in the case, 
and I have arrested everybody upon whom the slightest 
suspicion rests. The Board have not yet finished their 
investigations, but I imagine that it will turn out that 
there was an attack made upon the sutler for the pur- 
pose of robbery, which ended in a general fight, during 
which the deed was committed. 

Such a thing could not have happened in a fort regi- 
ment, having guards and sentries ; but in the batteries, 
no guards are considered necessary ; consequently the 


men are more at liberty. If the crime is proved upon 
any man, he will be dealt with summarily 

I came very near being killed like General Corcoran, 
yesterday. In coming from head-quarters, my horse 
broke through some concealed ice, in crossing a very 
bad hole at a rapid gait, and we both rolled over and 
over in the mud. My staff officers thought that I was 
killed, and I thought that my horse was, for he doubled 
his head completely under him, and turned a complete 
somersault. But thanks to a kind Providence I never 
get hurt by these kind of tumbles, which kill other 
peo2)le ; and I escaped with a slight sprain of my wrist. 

But such a looking object, or rather objects, as my 
horse and I, you never imagined. I was completely 
covered with black mud from head to foot, and Mc- 
Clellan, my big horse, was worse, for he was considerably 
cut and bruised. I begin to fear that my fate will be 
hanging, for you know 'fa man born to be hung, will 
never be drowned." 

Mr. C is in Washington, to undergo examination, 

previous to his ordination. 

Our meeting to-night was very nice, but I now feel 
the want of that ability to speak freely on religious 
matters, which I so much admire in others. I consider 
it one of the great wants in our Church system, that 
young people are not brought forward to take an active 
part in religious meetings. It is a sore trial to me, and 
a source of deep mortification, that while private soldiers 
under my command can step forward and lead in prayer, 
or sjDcak of the things of Jesus, I, who am their leader in 
everything else, am hardly able to say a word for Jesus. 

I suppose the real trouble is that my fear of failing 
in anything before my men, is stronger than my desire 
to do my manifest duty in this matter ; and I do strive 
against the feeling, but yet the difficulty exists. It is 
not diffidence. I do not hesitate to say anything to any- 
body in the line of my military duty, but on this one 


point I feel myself to be very weak. Maybe practice 
will help me, at any rate I am trying. 

]Mi'. C has said so much about W to the men. 

that they consider her a kind of saint on earth (and in- 
deed they are not far wrong). I think that I can see 
manifestations of a deeper affection for me lately than 
ever before. Pardon me, darling mamma, for saying so,. 
when I know that I so little deserve their respect or 
affection, but I cannot help feeling happy when the men 
ajDpear to have confidence in me, and to love me 

The chapel tent, in which so many of their 
pleasant meetings were held was put up on the 
slope of a gentle hill, and nearly surrounded by a 
grove of pine woods, through which the wuids 
swept with a melodious sigh day and night, and 
when this was mingled, as it continually was, with 
the soimd of many voices singing familiar fireside 
hymns, the music, as it stole over the camp, hushed 
often the loud laugh of the careless. 

We have heard Howard Kitching tell, with 
tears in his eyes, how his heart would throb, when 
sitting in his tent, he heard the men singing these 
old, well worn hymns, — " Just as I am ; " "A 
charge to keep I have ; " and " When I survey the 
wondrous cross." Meetings were held in this tent 
three times a day, and every evening. A library 
was formed of books contributed by numerous 
friends, and religious books and papers were dis- 
tributed throughout the regiment. The tent, 
when not otherwise occupied, was also used as a 
reading room. And in this way much was done for 
the temporal and spiritual welfare of the soldiers. 



Saturday Night, January 30, 1864. 

Mr. C must have been exceedingly pleased with 

his visit home. He can't say enough of you all. Many 
thanks for the basket of things; I shall enjoy them 
very much. 

I am building me a new log-house over in the regi- 
mental camp, as I shall vacate these premises in favor of 
the new commanding officer, Colonel Burton, 5th U. S. 
Artillery, on Friday next. I hope to be with you again 
for a day or two immediately after the first of the month, 
as it has become necessary for me to visit Albany again, 
in connection with some new companies which the gov- 
ernor is sending to the regiment. I am filling up the 
regiment very rapidly now, and hope that by April I 
shall have over fifteen hundred men in the field 

I wish you could see our chapel tent, papa, and the 
men flocking to it to hear of the Lord Jesus. Numbers 
come out openly, every day, and rejoice in having found 
the Lord. There are now three clergymen in the tent, 

besides Mr. C . A chapel tent has also been put up 

in the regular brigade, horse artillery, in this command. 
I am very grateful and happy for all this. Indeed, were 
it not for this, I should be sorely tempted to quit the 
army before spring 

Good by ! God bless you all with his choicest bless- 
ings. Your loving son, Howard. 

Wednesday Evening, February 3, 1864. 
My dearest Papa : — Many thanks for your kind, 
encouraging letter of January oOth. The box has not 
yet arrived, but will be very welcome when it does 
come ; the only trouble will be how to distribute the 
good things, as our meetings include about three hundred 

men now, and are increasing daily My regiment 

is filling up very rapidly. I have now eleven hundred 


and sixty-six men, and shall have eighteen hundred be- 
fore the spring campaign opens. One new company from 
Elmira has been added in a body. The captain is a 
Methodist clergyman, and " spouts " in meeting at a great 

I shall be relieved from this command to-morrow, 
probably, and shall be very glad to be free from the addi- 
tional care and responsibility ; and many recruits having 
joined my regiment, I ought to be with it. 

There is really a revival in my regiment. Men are 
coming forward daily to testify for Jesus, and a percepti- 
ble change in the tone of the entire regiment is manifest. 
Would that my officers could be moved by God's Spirit 
to come out on the right side ! There is a clergyman 
from Philadelphia now here. He preaches every even- 
ing, and says that he never attended more interesting 

But I cannot quite overcome my old antipathy to 
their "-free and easy," everybody-get-up-and-say-some- 
thing style, and frequently see and hear things which seem 
to me quite inconsistent with the solemnity of the occa- 

A work of grace like this could not go forward 
without exciting enmity, and the bitterest opposition 
among the ungodly men of the regiment. The 
chaplain was persecuted, and every effort was made 
to effect his removal. The colonel was opposed 
by those from whom he had hoped better things, 
and Satan made a fierce onset, to overthrow the 
work so gloriously begun. But though " cast 
down," Howard Kitching was not " destroyed," 
and with a sad but brave heart he went quietly 
forward, and he and the chaplain ultimately lived 
down all opposition, and many soldiers were en- 
listed under the banner of the Crucij&ed. 


This outpouring of the Spirit was not confined 
by any means to Howard Kitching's regiment ; it 
was very general throughout the army of the 
Potomac this winter. Not only in chapel tents, 
but by the camp fires, on the cold hill-side, the 
voice of prayer was heard, and the answer came, 
and many a heart beat stronger through the grace 
that is in Christ Jesus. 

As the spring campaign was drawing on, and 
the hour of battle near, the Lord's Supper was 
celebrated for the last time, — to many of the men 
their last communion. From those who shared in 
these privileges, we have had most touching ac- 
counts of these scenes in the army ; from the 
strangeness of the surroundings, and solemnity of 
the associations, they were scenes never to be for- 

March 22, 1864. 
.... We are now having the most violent snow- 
storm of the winter. It has been storming all the after- 
noon, and the snow is nearly a foot deep, making the 
camp look very cold and dreary ; the sentry in front of 
my tent is nearly blinded, and can scarcely walk his beat. 
I am not very well, but yet not very sick; probably the 
March weather has affected my lungs again. I have 
kept in my little house all day, and am now going to 

March 25, 1864. 

.... It is storming so fearfully that I am almost 
deafened with the thunder of the rain upon my canvas 
roof. It has been a very gloomy day, and the patches 
of dirty snow scattered here and there, make the land- 
scape far from agreeable. We have had such a dry, mild 
winter, that I fear our troubles are yet to come in the 


shape of spring rains, and indeed it is raining just now, 
as though it would never stop. 

Tuesday we had a regular old-fasliioned snow-storm. 
The snow fell to the depth of about eight inches, and 
Wednesday morning cleared up as bright as could be, 
the sun making everything sparkle and glisten like gold. 
Some of my men made me a little rustic sleigh, to which 
I harnessed my two horses, and gave Mrs. Colonel Burton 
a sleigh ride ; the only sleigh, I guess, that has ever ap- 
peared in the Army of the Potomac. 

Yesterday we had the greatest fun ! The men from 
the different companies began to snowball each other ; 
so I divided the regiment into two wings, about two 
hundred men U23on each side. I took command of the 
right wing, and gave the Lieutenant-colonel and Major 
the left, and after inviting Colonel and ISIrs. Burton out 
to see the sport, we had a scientijic snowballing. The 
battle lasted for about an hour, but although the left 
wing had the most men, yet my wing drove them off the 
ground, simply by tactical manoeuvring. 

No one was killed, but several wounded, including 
many officers. Three or four of them have black eyes 
to-day ; but all enjoyed it very much, and the frolic did 
the men a great deal of good. It certainly did me a 
service, for I have been so blue latel}^, and have been so 
confined, and felt so discouraged, that the effect of a 

hearty laugh was beneficial I have been so worried 

lately that I am not like my old self at all I am 

beginning to feel very old — older every day ! . . . . 

March 27, 1864, Sunday^ Midnight. 

My o^vn sweet Darling: — Again has the holy 
Sabbath (and Easter, too) been to me a day of hard, 
hard work. 

Colonel Burton has turned over the command of the 
reserve to me, as he is to leave to-morrow, and two regi- 
ments of heavy artillery have reported to me, and kept 


me on the jump, organizing matters, and getting them 
into camp. They are very large indeed, — the 4th and 
the 15th New York Artillery, — numbering twenty-five 
hundred men each. The 4th will be ordered to the 2d 
Corps soon, but the 15th will be brigaded with my regi- 
ment, giving me the command of a brigade of four 
thousand men. General Hunt thinks it will be perma- 
nent, so I suppose I shall be acting brigadier-general 
till the end of the war ; or till I get my head shot off — 
no, my darling, no danger of that ! 

I will write you all about my new command to-morrow. 
I wonder how you have spent this beautiful Easter Sun- 
day ? Do you remember the last ?....! have good 
news for you. I shall try to run home for two or three 
days after Colonel Burton returns — probably next 

week If I can only get one clay at home, I will 

come Pardon this hurried note, my darling, it is 

the best I can do to-night ; but I could not let this Sun- 
day go without dropping at least a line to my own " little 
heart's-ease." .... 

Head -QUARTERS First Brigade, Artillery Reserve, ) 
Sunday Evening, April 17. ) 

My own precious Mamma : — Your dear, sweet let- 
ter has been read again and again, and would have been 
answered long since, if I had been able ; but as you will 
see by the heading of this, I am acting brigadier-gen- 
eral, and as it will be a permanent command, I am 
organizing it to suit my ideas ; and changing many 
things. After I get the machine running regularly, I 
shall not have as much to do, as when commanding 
officer of my regiment, there being fewer details ; but for 
a time I shall have every moment occupied. I have 
about four thousand men in my brigade, two thousand 
being Dutchmen 

I have not enjoyed my Sunday at all. Orders have 
been coming in all day, and my tent has been filled 
with officers from the different corps. These Sundays 


in the army are dreadful indeed, spent as they are gen- 
erally. I am not usually annoyed in this way, for officers 
know that I like to have my Sundays to myself, but to- 
day many have called to congratulate me upon my new 

O, how I look back upon our dear, quiet Sundays at 
home, particularly the evening time, when we have for so 
many years been all together singing sweet hymns ; and 
I can truly say " making melody in our hearts to the 

I believe, darling mamma, that children never had so 
many pleasant times to look back upon, shadowed by so 
little grief ; and under the dear Lord's kind providence 
we owe our gratitude to you and dear papa for making 
our home so pleasant, and throwing around it so many 
blessed associations. 

And my own darling mother, none of your children 
appreciate that dear home more than I ; indeed I be- 
lieve, JiDt half as much. How could they ? All have a 
home but me ; I sometimes feel like a wanderer uj^on 
the face of the earth 

My last visit home was on many accounts one of the 
brightest spots in my life. My darling boy is so sweet, 

and seems to love me so dearly and though all 

these things make it much harder to leave you all, yet 

the memory is very comforting and pleasant 

I find that this routine of military duties is becoming 
more irksome to me every day. I long for home, with 
those I love, and who love me. 

I note what you say of the dear Lord's care of me 
and mine. I do not forget this, dearest mamma ; indeed 
I could not endure this experience, if I were not certain 
that my darlings are in better keeping than any protec- 
tion I could give them 

April 22, 1864. 

.... My brigade is splendid. We were reviewed 
by General Grant on Wednesday. He only gave us 
thirty minutes' notice to turn out. I had three thousand 


men on the ground, and was complimented very highly 
upon their appearance, their perfect drill, and splendid 
marching. I was introduced personally to General 


Saturday Evening, April 30, 1864. 

.... I have been suiFering from a pretty severe at- 
tack of pleurisy since yesterday. At one time to-day, I 
was in dreadful pain ; but have been blistered, and am 
now much better. I trust I shall be all right in the 
morning. I was foolish enough to drop asleep in my 
tent, with a draught blowing over me, and my illness is 
the natural result 

I suppose you are all auxious to know something of 
the destination of the Army of the Potomac, and in- 
deed so are ive. No one knows anything. We are 
making great preparations ; so are the rebs. They are 
throwing up dirt most industriously in our front at Cul- 

This army is growing like magic. My own regiment 
is to-night over eighteen hundred strong; my brigade 
thirty-nine hundred. I have had a battery of mortars 
turned over to me to-day which smells strongly of siege. 
I am drilling my brigade very hard, and have an idea 
that you may hear something from the " First Brigade, 
Ai-tillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac," before fall. 
My Dutchmen say that I am '■Her duyvil,'' because I 
" gives 'em so much drill, and so little lager." But I 
am sitting up too late for a sick man, and must go to 


" ' What have you seen ? ' said Christian. 

" ' Seen ! why the valley itself, which is as dark as 
pitch : we also saw there the hobgoblins, satyrs, and 
dragons of the pit ; we heard also in that valley a con- 
tinual howling and yelling, as of a people under unutter- 
able misery, who there sat bound in affliction and irons : 
and over that valley hung the discouraging clouds of 
confusion : Death also doth always spread his wings 
over it. In a word it is every whit dreadful, being 
utterly without order.' " 

Bunyan's PiLGKi]*rs Progress. 


" He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilder- 
ness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of 
his eye." — Deut. xxxii. 10. 

On the 3d of May the order went forth for the 
army to march. 

We give an extract from the journal of a friend 
of Colonel Kitching's, as it is one of the indica- 
tions we have of the kind of preparation he made, 
when it was possible, before going into battle. 

May 3, 1864. 
Colonel Kitching sent for me at eleven o'clock, p. m., 
as we were to leave at three o'clock, the following 
morning, to begin our campaign in the Wilderness. 
After some pleasant talk we read the Bible together, and 
then prayed for God's blessing for ourselves and families, 
and the army, and especially our regiment. The hour 
and a half thus spent together was a solemn and precious 
time. We parted very cheerful and happy in the Lord. 

Ten o^clock, p. m. 
The men are singing and packing up. 

The 5th of May found a hundred thousand men 
across the Rapidan. 

The barrier that had so long divided the opposing 
armies was passed, and with the mingled emotions which 
grand and novel enterprises stir in men's breasts, the 


troops looked out, hopefully, yet conscious that a terrible 
struggle was before them, into a region yet untrodden by 
the hostile armies, but soon to become historic by a 
fierce grapple of armed hosts and bloody battles in 
many tangled woods. 

The line of march of the Army of the Potomac, 
after crossing the Rapidan, led through a region 
known as the Wilderness. This desolate region is 
thus described by the author from whom we have 
just quoted : — 

It is impossible to conceive a field worse adapted to 
the movements of a grand army. The whole face of the 
country is thickly wooded, with only an occasional open- 
ing, and intersected by a few narrow wood-roads. But 
the woods of the Wilderness have not the ordinary 
features of a forest. The region rests on a belt of min- 
eral rocks, and, for above a hundred years, extensive 
mining has here been carried on. To feed the mines 
the timber of the country for many miles around had 
been cut down, and in its place there had arisen a dense 
undergrowth of low-limbed and shaggy pines, and stiff 
and bristling chincapins, scrub-oaks, and hazel. It is 
a region of gloom and the shadow of death. IManeu- 
vering here was necessarily out of the question, and 
only Indian tactics told. The troops could only re- 
ceive direction by a point of the compass ; for not only 
were the lines of battle entirely hidden from the sight of 
the commander, but no officer could see ten files on each 
side of him. Artillery was wholly ruled out of use ; the 
massive concentration of three hundred guns stood silent, 
and only an occasional piece or section could be brought 
into play on the roadsides. Cavalry was still more use- 

It was not the design of General Grant to give 


battle in this difficult country, but he hoped, by 
turning the Confederate right, he would be able to 
mask his march through the Wilderness, and then 
by rapid advance towards Gordonsville, plant him- 
self between the Confederate army and Richmond. 
But Lee, instead of falling back on finding his flank 
turned, took a strategic offensive, directed a rapid 
concentration of his forces to meet Grant, and 
aimed to shut up Grant in the Wilderness. 

We cannot follow the Army of the Potomac step 
by step through the terrible battles of the Wilder- 
ness, — the strangest battles ever fought, — though 
to do so would give examples of patient suffering, 
unfaltering courage, and high heroism, such as the 
world has seldom witnessed or history recorded. 

Brav;e young boys ! how many fought their last 
battle there. To many of them, one step from the 
thorny tangled wilderness to the sapphire pave- 
ment above. 

This great struggle commenced on the 5th of 
May, but Colonel Kitching's brigade was not or- 
dered in until the following morning. The sol- 
diers had been listening to the roar of cannon and 
the peal of musketry, and the confused noise from 
the battle-field all day, and the order for them to 
enter where the shadow of death was falling so 
heavily, seemed to sober and solemnize the most 

A meeting for prayer was held at midnight. 
The spot chosen was the graves of those who had 
fallen in the previous battle of Chancellor sville. 


The moon lit up tins strange scene. Forty-seven 
men were there, mth their colonel among them. 
We have heard Howard Kitching often tell of this 
night, and of the earnest, simple prayers of these 
soldiers, only such prayers as are made at such 

Such scenes as these were not uncommon in the 
army of the Potomac, and we think they deserve 
to be recorded, as they are among the few things 
that can relieve the dark background of the dread- 
ful thing men call war. 

Howard Kitching's military journal of this pe- 
riod shows an amount of labor, suffering, and pri- 
vation that befel the troops in the continual shift- 
ing of his corps, fighting by day, and marching 
by night, of which no general statement can give 
any idea. For twelve days the fighting was inces- 
sant. Every effort was made during that time 
to find a spot where the rebel lines could be 
broken. But these attempts were skillfully met at 
every point ; wherever an attack was made, the 
enemy bristled out in breastworks, and every inch 
of ground was contended for, with a dash and a 
vigor which could not be overcome. 

The following was written on a little scrap of 
paper, on the battle-field : — 

Neab Spottsylvania Court House, 3fay 13, 1864. ) 
Six 0^ clock, A. M. ) 

My own precious Darling: — I thank God, I am 
still alive, and able to write you a line, for I know that 
you must be terribly anxious. 

We have all been going through the most terrible ex- 


periences for the past week, reaching the climax yester- 
day and last night. The world never saw such fight- 
ing. Both sides feel this to be the last struggle, and 
contend with a fierceness that is awful. Our losses have 
been fearfid, probably /or^y thousand. 

I am not well, darling, and after the excitement is 
over shall probably feel worse. Would that this were 
the last of this terrible struggle ! How I long to know 
how my darlings are, and how I long to be with you, 
never, never to leave you again. 

The general result of our week's fighting has been 
good, but the cost heavy. 

I cannot write more now, darling; I am sitting in 
the mud and rain, the very dirtiest looking object you 
ever beheld. I will send a line as I have opportunity. 
Bless you, my sweet wife ! Ever your own 


General Grant, at length becoming satisfied that 
Lee could not be dislodged from his stronghold in 
this entangled Wilderness by direct assault, resolved 
by a flank movement to dislodge him from this un- 
assailable position. 

" Preparations for this movement were begun on 
the afternoon of the 19th. of May ; but the enemy 
observing these, retarded its execution by a bold 
demonstration against the Union right. It hap- 
pened that the flank was held by a division of foot 
artillerists, under General Tyler, posted in an im- 
portant position, covering the road from Spottsyl- 
vania to Fredericksburg, which was the army's 
main line of communication with its base at the 
latter point. Ewell crossed the Ny River above 
the right flank, and moving down, seized the Fred- 


ericksburg road, and laid hands on an ammunition 
train coming up. Tyler promptly met this attack, 
and succeeded in driving the enemy from the road, 
and into the woods beyond. The foot artillerists 
had not before been in battle, but it was found 
that once under fire, they displayed an audacity 
surpassing even th-e old troops. In these murder- 
ous wood-fights, the veterans had learned to em- 
ploy all the Indian devices that aif ord shelter to 
the person ; but these green battalions, unused to 
this kind of craft, pushed boldly on, firing furi- 
ously. Their loss was heavy, but the honor of the 
enemy's repulse belongs to them." 

These " green battalions " were the foot artiller- 
ists of Colonel Kitching's brigade. 

It was soon after the battle, when the land was 
filled with rumors of battles lost and woii, and 
anxious hearts were watching for some certain tid- 
ings, that a poor woman, respectably clad, called at 
Howard's home, and asked to see his mother. She 
remarked that she was a mother, mth a son in the 
army, and therefore knew what a mother felt at 
such a time ; that she had walked a long distance 
to give her to read a letter from her son, who was 
in Colonel Kitching's regiment. We cannot refrain 
from giving an extract, as it serves to show the 
class of men that composed his command : — 

On the 19th inst., near Spottsylvania Court House, 
our (Kitching's) -brigade and Tyler's division were at- 
tacked by Ewell's whole corps, and led by that general 
in person ; and although it was the first time we were 


so actively engaged, aDfl could not be expected to stand' 
as unflinchingly as older troops, still the flower of the> 
Southern army, led by one of their ablest generals, and? 
outnumbering us five to one, could not force us back one- 

Our little colonel was at his post as usual, with a 
smile and cheerful remark for all, and a word of consola- 
tion for the w^ounded. Our regiment captured, during 
the fight, seventy-nine prisoners. They all say that they 
were addressed by their general before they left, who 
told them that they were going to attack raw troops, and 
a victory would be easy and decisive ; but they all say 
they do not wish to see any more such raw troops. 

Our colonel may well be proud of his regiment, as 
w^e are of him as our commanding officer. I wish you 
could see him once. To see him is to respect him ; but 
to know him is to love him. Pie is just my idea of a 
perfect soldier and gentleman. While the shells are fly- 
ing over us, and the bullets whizzing past us, he is walk- 
ing leisurely up and down the line, and if any of the 
boys should dodge, he will say with a smile, " No ducking, 
— stand up ! " His demeanor and example in battle 
has made heroes of the meanest cowards. 

The conduct of the 6tli Artillery in this battle 
was thus noticed, in the following General Order : 

Head-quarters Army of the Potomac. 
The Major-general commanding desires to express 
his satisfaction with the good conduct of Tyler's divis- 
ion and Kitching's brigade of heavy artillery in the af- 
fair of yesterday evening. The gallant manner in which 
those commands (the greater portion being for the first 
time under fire), met and checked the persistent attacks 
of a corps of the enemy, led by one of the ablest gen- 
erals, justified the commanding general in the si)ecial 
commendation of troops, who, henceforth, will be relied 


tupon, as were the tried veterans of the Second and 
Fifth corps, at the same time engaged. 

By command of Major-general Meade, 

[Signed] S. S. Williams, A. A. G. 

Brigadier-general Tyler, 
Commanding Division. 

The terrible experience of the twelve days be- 
fore Spottsylvania convinced every man in the 
army that the position of Lee was, in truth, im- 
pregnable. Above forty thousand men had al- 
ready fallen in the bloody encounters. General 
Grant, anxious as he was to give Lee a crushing 
blow, was convinced that it could not be done by 
direct assault. He then began to turn the posi- 
tion by a flanli march. This is an operation usu- 
ally accounted very hazardous, in the presence of 
a vigilant enemy. It was, nevertheless, conducted 
with great precision, and skill, and complete suc- 
- cess. 

This turning movement, jealously guarded as it 
was, did not pass unobserved by the wary enemy. 
Accordingly, at midnight on the 20th, the same 
:night on which Hancock set out, Longstreet's 
corps was headed southward, and another grand 
/race between the two armies, similar to that from 
the Wilderness to Spottsylvania, was begun. 
Neither army seems to have sought to deal the 
other a blow while on the march, and both headed, 
as for a common goal, towards the North Anna. 
On the morning of the 23d May, the army reached 
the northern bank of that stream. But it was 
only to descry its old enemy planted on the oppo- 


site side. After a series of strategical moves, 
crossing and recrossing the North Anna, the army 
struck to the southward and was across the Pa- 
munkey on the 28th. Pushing on towards the 
Chickahominy, heavy skirmishing took place on 
the 30th of May, as they drew near that river, the 
approaches to which they found strongly covered 
by Lee's army. 

It was ascertained that the whole of Swell's 
corps held position at Shady Grove Church, and as 
the enemy soon afterwards appeared to be threat- 
ening to move round by the Mechanicsville pike 
and turn Warren's left, Crawford directed one of 
his brigades to the left to cover that road. This 
brigade had hardly reached the vicinity of Be- 
thesda Church when Rhodes' division of Swell's 
corps assailed it furiously in the flank. After 
maintaining the unequal contest for a few mo- 
ments, the brigade fell back to the Shady Grove 
road with the enemy in full pursuit. At this m©- 
ment General Crawford brought up the remainder 
of the reserves, and Colonel Kitching's brigade of 
heavy artillery opened fire in conjunction with 
batteries on both flanks, which nearly demolished 
the rebel column of attack. The enemy fell back 
in terrible disorder, and left their dead and 
wounded behind them on the field. 

His own letter gives an account of this struggle, 
out of which he came unharmed, sheltered, as he 
felt he had been, by the impenetrable armor 
wrought out of many prayers. 


South Side of Pamuxkey River, Virginia, ) 
May 29, 1864. ) 

My dear Papa : — I would have written you a line 
long since, knowing how very anxious you must be, but 
it has been quite impossible to get a letter away, and I 
have had no mail from home since the 8th. I am 
most anxious to hear from you all, and if I jiermitted 
myself to think of my anxiety and imaginings, I slioidd 
be quite unfitted for duty. But I know that the same 
kind Hand that has so wonderfully preserved me through 
the past three weeks has my loved ones in his keeping, 
and that I can leave them with Ilim. 

I sup})ose that the papers have given you a pretty 
good idea of our present whereabouts, and our doings 
since the opening of the campaign, but nothing but the 
actual experience could give one any adequate concep- 
tion of the severity of the fighting. I had considered 
myself an old soldier after the Peninsula campaign, but 
have learned that I had never seen fighting till now. 

My brigade, three thousand strong, is doing duty as 
infantry, and has "seen the elephant," I assure you. 
When our army first met the enemy. May 6th, I was 
ordered to the front, and reported to General Warren, 
Fifth Corps. He ordered me to join General Wads- 
worth, who was fighting and hard pressed in a thick 
wood, on the left of our line. I " pitched in," but be- 
fore I could join Wads worth, he was shot through the 
head, and I met his division broken and coming to the 
rear. I let his tired men pass through my lines, and 
waited for " Johnny Reb ; " but at the first fire my 
right regiment broke and ran away, leaving the right of 
my line unprotected, and the best I could do was to fiiU 
back fighting. My own regiment did splendidly, ma- 
neuvering as coolly as if on drill. After getting my 
brigade together again, we went in and " flaxed " the 
rebs out. 

Since the 6th instant my command has fought with 


every corps in the army ; and on the 19th, I was sent 
up on the right flank to guard the Fredericksburg road 
while the rest of the army was making a demonstration 
on our left. 

I made my dispositions as well as I could, but from 
the length of the line which I was required to hold I 
had to scatter my brigade too much." At four o'clock 
P. M, I was attacked by Ewell's entire corps, but my 
men did fight magnificently. We never lost one inch 
of ground, but held the whole corps of rebs till nearly 
SIX o clock, when reinforcements came on the ground. 
Ihe fun of it is that the reinforcements came on the 
ground separately, by regiments and batteries, and learn- 
ing that your hopeful son was in command of the posi- 
tion they reported to me, so that by seven o'clock I was 
fighting over seven thousand men, and in command of 
more than a division. My old regiment, the Second 
Aew York, reported to me, and I had the pleasure of 

leading one battalion into the fight I have lost 

thirteen officers and five hundred and thirty-two men 
m my brigade, but the command is in first-rate condition 
and spn-its, and appear to tliink that they have been 
pretty well handled. 

I inclose copy of an order issued by General Meade 
on the action of the nineteenth, which will explain itself. 
lou must not misunderstand me, dear papa, in thus 
speaking of my command. My officers and men de- 
serve all the credit that they have received, and of 
course I am proud of them ; and am sure that you will 
be glad to know that my command has done well 

We had a brisk fight crossing the ]S^orth Anna, on the 
twenty-third. My Christian men have done particularly 
well I could tell you of many instances of most he- 
roic behavior on their part, but have not time now. I 
can hartUy realize my own escape. From the fact that 
my troops were mostly new, I felt it to be necessary to 
expose myself more than would otherwise have been my 


duty, and yet, while every one of my field officers has 
either been wounded himself or had his horse killed, 1 
have had only a slight scratch. A sharpshooter suc- 
ceeded in breaking the skin of my neck, but it did not 
hurt me much. We afterward wounded and captured 
him, and he said that " he had fired seven times at that 
little colonel, and that he would die happy if he could 
have hit him." 

I think that our busli whacking is over for the present, 
for we are so near Richmond that I do not think the 
enemy will stand outside his works. If we can get him 
penned up there we shall wind up this arrangement very 
soon. I should be quite content to retire now, if the 

campaign were ended These chaps cannot say 

that I am afraid to fight as infantry, now ! 

Pardon my writing of nothing but myself, but I have 
only time to write the news. Here is an order to move 
forward to Haws' shop, six miles, so good-by ! God 
bless you all. Love to dear, darling mamma. 

Your loving boy, Howard. 

Tuesday Evening, May 31, 1864. 

My oavn precious Wife: — I am writing this in 
the rifle-pits that cost me nearly two hundred lives yes- 
terday to hold, and where the rebels lost more than 
three hundred men in their attempt to take our position. 
My brigade was assigned permanently to this division 
yesterday morning as an infantry command, and I had 
just reported to General Crawford, when I was ordered 
to the front to support Colonel Hardin's brigade, which 
was being hard j^ressed at the time. 

I led my column to the front at once, but the order 
proved to have been issued too late, for I had but just 
got my column in motion, filing along a narrow road, 
when the enemy broke Colonel Hardin's line and came 
upon the head of my column. 

I had no time to form line of battle ; two of my 


staiF fell at the iSrst fire ; one, Lieutenant Ferris, by his 
horse being shot thi-Ough the head and falling ujDon him, 
and the other, Bailey, shot in the breast. Major Crook- 
ston and Ca^Dtain Palmer, just behind me, also fell, 
Crookston's horse killed, and Palmer shot throuo-h the 
ankle. This terrible fire right into the head of the 
column broke the men, many of whom had fallen, killed 
or wounded, and in less time than I have been telling 


you, my brigade, excepting one battalion which I man- 
aged, through the heroic exertions of Majors Jones and 
Shonnard, to keep together, was sailing across the plain. 

My oflicers are magnificent, and at the first fence, 
where any protection could be had from the murderous 
fire, they rallied the 6th Artillery, and I made a stand 
for about thirty minutes against two brigades of the 
enemy. They came on in two lines of battle, waving 
their battle-flags, and led bravely enough by their offi- 
cers, but our rail fence, of which we had made as good a 
breastwork as we could, did us good service, and we did 
give~~them " Jessie." I was forced to fall back, having 
no reinforcements, but they lost one brigadier-general, 
one colonel, three lieutenant-colonels, and a large num- 
ber of men, besides our taking over seventy prisoners. 

A rebel colonel (Christian), who was badly wounded 
and fell into our hands, told me that he had never seen 
such fearful volleys as our men poured into their ranks. 

We fell back to our supports, and got two batteries 
into position, and then had it hot and heavy till night 
put an end to it 

At ten o'clock last night I had just come in from the 
field, after burying my dead and bringing in my 
wounded, and was lying mider a tree, wondering why it 
was that I was so miraculously spared, while every one 
with me had been killed or wounded, when my orderly 
returned from headquarters with the first mail that I 
have received since the twelfth, and as I read one dear 
letter after another, I ceased to wonder at my jpi'cserva- 


tion, for I thought that any one for whom so many ear- 
nest prayers were continually ascending must be almost 
bullet-proof. Such clear, loving letters from my precious 

H , Louise, darling mamma, Theodore, and all ! 

Never had soldier such friends, and I believe that never 
was soldier's head covered in the day of battle by such 
fervent prayers. 

I sometimes think, darling, that I ought not to write 
you thus fully about these dreadful battles, and lead you 
to think how much exposed I am to injury and death ; 
but thet» again, I think so long as it is so, and cannot be 
helped, and the papers give you the same general infor- 
mation, without its correctness, that it is better for you 
to know from me just how it is, and be prepared for the 
Lord's will. 

.... I notice one thins: which encourasfes me 
greatly, that the rebel attacks ujDon our lines are becom- 
ing weaker and weaker. If the Administration will but 
send us plenty of reinforcements, we can finish up the 
rebellion this campaign, I believe. The prisoners that 
we take all appear to be glad to get into our lines, and 
say that " the jig is up." But O, what a fearful sacrifice 
of life will yet be the price of our success. 

I am off duty to-day, darling. The excitement of 
yesterday brought on my dysentery, so that I cannot 
ride, and have been lying still all day. Don't be wor- 
ried when I am a little under the weather. T am not 
very sick, and indeed, if I were, it might prove a bless- 
ing, by keeping me out of some other danger. Just 
trust in our Heavenly Father's tender love and care. 
He has kept us so ftir, and will not forsake us now. 

You would scarcely know me, darling, if you could 
see me now, — I look so rough. My clothes are torn 
and dirty. I am tanned as black as a darkey, and from 
hard work and want of sleep, I look as though I had 
been on a spree. O, how I long for rest ! . . . . 

My pickets are popping away now in my front. 


Whew ! how tired I am of hearing fire-arms. Fourth 
of July would have no charms for me now. 

Bless you, my darling, precious wife. Kiss my dar- 
ling boy for me. The dear Lord keep my darling se- 
cure from every harm 

Mr. C is lying on the gi'ound beside me, and 

sends his best respects. He is doing a blessed work 
amongst our wounded. He is a noble soldier of the 
Lord Jesus. 

It will interest you to know that my bed is a blanket 
laid upon the ground, in rear of the rifle-pits. I have 
not had any tent up, or roof over me, but one night dur- 
ing the campaign. 

In Eifle-pits, Nine Miles from Richmond, ) 
Mmj 31, 1864. ( 

My own precious Mamma: — I am now sitting 
upon my india-rubber blanket in the rifle-pits, for which 
we had a fierce fight yesterday * 

I got in action about one o'clock, and we had it hot 
and heavy till after dark. I have only a moment to 
scribble ; cannot give you particulars, but am again 
thanking my Heavenly Father for my preservation. I 
lost two of my staff, shot by my side, and every 
mounted officer in my own regiment was either shot 
himself or had his horse killed under him, and I escaped 

I do not speak of my exposure to worry you, darling 
mamma, but have thought it better for you to know the 
truth, and be prepared for any dispensation of God's 

We are very much encouraged by our successes thus far. 
Whenever we meet the enemy in the open country, 
or he attacks us, we whip him. Yesterday, they were 
slaughtered fearfully. I went over the field after the 
fight. We found one brigadier-general, one colonel, 
two lieutenant-colonels, beside about three hundred 


men, lying in front of my command alone. We also 
took about eighty prisoners. Would that the leaders of 
this terrible rebellion would see the certain downfall of 
their wicked efforts, and stoj) now, rather than sacrifice 
the lives that must be lost before the end of the cam- 
paign 1 

My loss yesterday will prove about two hundred in 
killed, wounded, and missing 

Give my best love to all the dear ones. This is a 
miserable apology for a letter, but I can only scribble 
these little notes to you, telling you of my safety, now- 

I am sitting amongst my men in rear of my rifle-pits, 
with an india-rubber blanket under me, and the stars 

over me. Mr. C is quietly sleeping on his blanket 

near me. My pickets are occasionally popping at the 
enemy, and vice versa. My clothes are ragged, and 
dirty ; I am tanned like a darkey, and altogether look 
jDretty seedy ; but I believe that my superior officers and 
my command have full confidence in me, which is a 
source of great comfort. 

Many thanks for telling me what Sergeant Lloyd's 
mother said. These little things are a great help to a 

You had better direct your letters to Kitching's Brig- 
ade, Fifth Army Corps ; as we are no longer a j^art of 
the reserve, but a regular infantry command. I must 
close now, dearest mamma, although I hate to send you 
such a letter — all about myself, too ; but I know you 
are anxious to hear of my safety. I shall now read my 
chapter in the Bible, and turn in on my blanket for a 
little rest, for I got none last night. God bless you all. 
Ever your loving Howard. 

The rifle-pits where the next letter was written, 
liad been won from the enemy by Colonel Kitch- 
ing's brigade after five hours' hard fighting. In 


tlie engagement he received, as we have seen, a 
sho^it wound on the neck from a minie ball. But 
the panoply of prayer was around him, and we find 
him, while sorrowing over his dead and wounded 
soldiers with that deep tenderness which belongs 
to all heroic natures, again taking comfort in the 
thought that he was sheltered thus by prayer. 

It is common for Christians to acknowledge in 
their talk this power of prayer, but how few act- 
ually realize that every one among us, the sim- 
plest, the feeblest, the neediest, may as a prince 
have power with God and prevail. All who are 
anxious pray. But it is not always the prayer of 
faith, made as to One who can be and will be pre- 
vailed on to answer it. The prayer of faith is al- 
ways answered. The reply may not be altogether 
according to our desire ; the result of the victory 
altogether of our own shaping. There is in spirit- 
ual things many a glorious victory that comes in the 
guise of a defeat, just as there is many an inglori- 
ous defeat that looks at first like a victory. But 
still, prayer shall win its end ; its best end ; its 
end of glory to God, and of blessing, richest bless- 
ing to your beloved one and to yourself ; it shall 
bring abundant consolation, and fullest satisfaction, 
if it be in faith — if it be earnest — if it be un- 
wearied. Plow many a prayer offered up by deso- 
late firesides received their fullest answer amid 
these scenes of carnage ; how many were brought to 
Jesus ; how many found the battle-field the path- 
way to the land where they learn war no more ! 

140 ''MORE THAN conqueror:' 

In Rifle-pits, near Cold Harbor, \ 
Friday Evening, June 3, 1864. ) 

My own precious Sister: — Your dear, sweet let- 
ters, as also Theodore's, of the 21st of May, reached 
me on Monday night, just after our terrible fight had 
been stopped by the darkness, and I had just returned 
from my picket line, where I had been collecting the 
dead and wounded of my poor fellows. I was com- 
pletely exhausted, and was lying on the ground wonder- 
ing why the Lord had spared me so wondrously through 
such an awful fire, wlien so many of my comrades had 
fallen by my side. ]\Iy orderly handed me a bundle of 

dear letters from H , yourself, Theodore, and dear 

mamma ; and as I read them, one after another, I ceased 
to wonder at my preservation, for all told of constant 
and unceasing prayers going up for me, and I began to 
think that one so cared for, and prayed for, must be al- 
most bullet-proof. 

If you could but realize, darling, the comfort of such 
dear letters from home at such a time. I have been 
almost constantly under fire for a month, and although 
I trust that no sense of personal danger has ever inter- 
fered for one moment with my duty, yet I am of that 
temperament that I always have a vivid realization of 
the exposure of my position ; and after the great excite- 
ment attendant upon the proper management of my 

command is over, then comes the thought of dear H , 

my poor fatherless boy, and a dear, kind father and 
mother, who can only remember me as a source of anx- 
iety and care. After every fight I have had these ter- 
rible seasons of depression, and had had no mail from 
home since the 8th till Monday last. 

Don't think, darling, that my heart fails in the good 
work ; it is not that. I never feel stronger or more 
hopeful than when my brigade is engaged. It is the re- 
action afterward — the mournful duties of collecting, 
identifying, and burying my dead comrades — trying to 


heljD and comfort my jDoor wounded, who seem almost 
to shame me for having escaped. This is what tears 
the heart of a man in times and scenes like these. And 
when I read yonr dear letters, telling me how you 
longed to have me near you to comfort me ; and I began 
to think of the inexpressible comfort of being for*an 

hour with H , or you, or dear mamma, I just forgot 

my manliness and burst out crying. I could not help it. 
But this is scarcely a soldier's letter, darling ! Now for 
the other side, which is just as fully realized, I assure you. 
We are driving the enemy at every point. Wherever 
we meet him we show our ability to overcome him. 
Even the heavy artillery, which was considered raw and 
undisciplined, has been able to repulse their choicest 
troops twice. 

^ I hear that my brigade has been mentioned very 
kindly by the press ; have you seen it ? My brave fel- 
lows deserve it — six hundred and thirty of my brigade, 
including thirteen officers, have either gone to their'' last 
roll-call, or are swelling the list in hospital. But it 
is becoming a by-word in the army that the wounded 
heavy artillerymen complain less than any other men in 
the hospitals. A braver, cooler, and more obedient set 
of men, I never saw. O, that they were all Christians, 
and could testify for the Lord Jesus, as did one of. my 
poor sergeants. Hart, who had both legs blown off,* and 
spent last Sunday as his first day in heaven. 

But, if I do not say good-by, this cannot go to-night. 
Even as I write this, my darling, a twelve-pounder shell is 
rushing over my head, and -bursts in the field behind us. 

How much I wish to say to you, my darling sister ! 
.... Write me your, dear letters whenever you can. 
Thank dear Theodore for his lovely letters. God bless 
you all, darlings ! Don't worry at the tone of my let- 
ter. I never hid anything from you, and thoughts of 
H and Howy do prevent my being a thorough sol- 
dier at all times. God bless you, darling. 

Your own brother, Howard. 


Sergeant Hart was a noble Christian soldier, 
whom Howard Kitching loved with a very strong 
love. We remember well his telling us, when on 
a bed of suffering, with tears in his eyes, of the 
last farewell of Hart. 

In the very thick of the fight, he was carried 
past him, mortally wounded, and, looking up with 
a bright smile, he exclaimed, " Colonel, I shall 
have the honor of being in heaven before you." 
And we were told by one who visited him in the 
hospital, that just as the shadow of death was fall- 
ing upon him, he made a last effort, and his clear 
voice rang through the building as he sang a verse 
of the hymn they were so fond of singing in their 
prayer-meeting ; — 

" Joyfully, joyfully, onward I move, 
Bound to the land of bright spirits above ; 
Angelic choristers sing as I come, 
Joyfully, joyfully, haste to thy home ! 
Soon will my pilgrimage end here below, 
Home to the land of bright s^Dirits I go ; 
Pilgrim and stranger no more shall I roam, 
Joyfully, joyfully resting at home." 

And so he fell asleep. 

How pleasant it is to think how many sons and 
brothers, on the battle-field and in the hospital, 
have been cheered, at last, by the memory of some 
sweet household hymn. 

Friday^ June 3, 1864. 

My dearest Papa : — I am in rear of my command 
in the rifle-pits, near Cold Harbor, within six miles of 


We have not been engaged to-day, but are exposed 
to heavy fire of artillery in our present position, which 
makes us keep pretty close to mother earth. Yesterday 
and day before, my brigade was in action, adding to the 
number of my poor fellows who have gone to their last 
account, or are filling the hospitals, and yet how wonder- 
fully has the Lord preserved me, a monument of his 
wondrous power and love. 

AVe are steadily driving the enemy back upon his 
Imes around Richmond, but the tenacity and stubborn- 
ness with which he holds his ground is wonderful. O, 
If the le..ders of this wicked rebellion would only see 
hat leir ultimate doom is fixed, and by a surrender 
stop tins fearful bloodshed! But I suppose that some 
good will come of this sacrifice of life which we may 
see hereafter. •' 

The army is tired out, but in good spirits 

lyler was hit this morning. This is truly " the Valley 
of the Shadow of Death," but I trust that the Lord is 
With us 

TMs " Valley of the Shadow of Death " was 
to be strewn with many more victims, for these 
reconnoissances showed Lee to be in a very strong 
position, covering the approaches to the Chicka- 
hommy, the forcing of which it was now clear 
must cost a great battle. It was evident from the 
development of the enemy's strength, that the ef- 
fort to cross where the two armies faced each other 
had little promise of success. It was resolved' 
therefore, to move toward the south, and force the 
passage of the Chickahominy at Cold Harbor, and 
thus compel Lee to retire within the intrench- 
ments of Richmond. We shall not follow in de- 
tail the movements of the army which led to this 
disastrous battle. 


When the dispositions of the several corps were 
made, the order was given for a general assault 
along the whole front of six miles, to be made at 
half -past four in the morning. 

Next morning, with the first gray light of dawn 
struggling through the clouds, the preparations began ; 
from behind the rude parapets there was an up-starting, 
a springing to arms, the mufiled commands of officers 
forming the line. The attack was ordered at half-past 
four, and it may have been five minutes after that, or it 
may have been ten minutes, but it certainly was not 
later than forty-five minutes past four, when the whole 
line was in motion, and the dark hollows between the 
armies were lit up with the fires of death. 

It took hardly more than ten minutes to decide the 
battle. There was along the whole line a rush — the 
spectacle of impregnable works — a bloody loss — then 
a sullen falling back, and the action was decided. 

Through this mthering fire of shot and shell, 
Howard Kitching passed unscathed. 

This was the last of the series of conflicts fought 
so desperately from the Wilderness to the Chicka- 
hominy, in which Grant's loss consisted of more 
than sixty thousand men put hors de comhat. 

The result of this battle showed that this line 
could not be carried by direct assault. General 
Grant resolved, therefore, to transfer the army, by 
a flank march, to the south side of the James 
River. This march of fifty-five miles across the 
Peninsula was made in two days, and with per- 
fect success, and the morning of the 16th June 
found the whole army on the south side of the 


Petersburg, which has been defined as a fortress 
thrust forward on the flank of the Confederate 
capital, was a possession coveted eagerly by each 
combatant. Grant designed to seize it before Lee 
could reinforce the feeble garrison. But there was 
unaccountable delay, grievous mismanagement, 
and, when too late, heroic but fruitless assaults, 
repulse and mournful loss of life. Convinced by 
these failures that direct attack was in vain, Gen- 
eral Grant ordered the troops to begin entrenching 
a systematic line. 

It was after a campaign of nearly two months' 
dm-ation— a campaign of varying fortune, of 
gigantic battles, of signal successes, of vast losses, 
of ceaseless activity, of unsurpassable hardships, of 
greainnarches, which can in no wise be computed 
by the hundred miles it traversed since the day it 
crossed the Rapidan, a campaign characterized by 
consummate generalship on the part of its leader, 
as well as of his subordinates — a campaign de- 
mandmg the constant exercise of every military 
and manly quality on the part of every soldier 
engaged in it; it was at the end of such a cam- 
paign that the Union army found itself arrested 
before the strong chain of redans in front of Pe- 




" The feigned retreat, the nightly ambuscade, 
The daily harass, and the fight delayed, 
The long privation of the hojDed supply, 
The tentless rest beneath the humid sky. 
The stubborn wall that mocks the leaguer's art. 
And palls the j^atience of his baffled heart : 
Of these they had not deemed. The battle day, 
They could encounter as a veteran may ; 
But more preferred the fury of the strife 
And present death, to hourly suffering life." 




" For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy 
in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when 
the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall." 

Isaiah xxv. 4. 

There was a general feeling of disappointment, 
and great depression at the north with the result of 
this campaign. It was difficult for the people to 
appreciate what had been accomplished. "For 
every^ battle of the warrior is with confused noise, 
and garments rolled in blood," and it is only after 
the shout is hushed, and the strife ceased, and the 
smoke of the battle entirely cleared away, that a 
just judgment can be formed. They knew by 
many a darkened fireside that the sacrifice had 
been a fearful one. 

Not so with the army. Its spirit was never 
more unbroken, never more patriotic, never more 
heroic. An intelligent writer, who visited the 
army at this time says : — 

" If there be one term which will at once pointedly 
and comprehensively characterize the fixed moral quality 
into which the army of the Potomac has gi'own, it seems 
to me to be a word which has lost much of its primitive 
force from frequent and inapplicable use — the word 
indomitable. It cannot be broken, it cannot be over- 


come ; it cannot be reduced to despair ; it has no 
thought but of continuous struggle, through cloud and 
sunshine — no prospect other than of ultimate success. 
You feel this everywhere, in its ranks and under the 
most inauspicious circumstances. You see it among the 
private soldiers and officers. You notice it in the fore- 
front of the battle line, and around the nightly camp 
fire. You see its deep impress on all faces ; you hear 
its expression universally ; and you behold it working 
itself out practically." 

And not the Avearisome days and wearisome 
nights, the scorching heat by day and the cold 
night chill, the hard life in the rifle-pits before 
Petersburg, could Avear down the heroic spirit of 
that heroic army. 

In Rifle-pits, two Miles from Petersburg, | 
I'uesday Evening^ June 21, 1864. ) 

My DEAR Papa: — Your kind letter of June 13th 
reached me yesterday, with two from dear mamma, two 
from Louise, and one from Gussie ; so you can imagine 
that I had a real feast for a time. Our mail generally 
comes in this manner, so that for three or four days, 
sometimes a week, we may receive nothing, and then a 
wdiole batch of letters wdll come together. It really 
seems as though these dear home letters always come 
just when most needed, and most acceptable ; another 
manifestation of love from our Heavenly Father in 
sending these dear comforts just when weariness and 
gloom renders them so precious. 

Since Friday last my brigade has occupied a most 
uncomfortable position, having been in the rifle-pits the 
whole time ; and since Saturday night in such close 
proximity to the enemy's lines that both parties are 
obliged to cover themselves in every possible wa3^ 

Saturday afternoon our whole division received orders 


to advance and occupy a line some three hundred yards 
in advance of that occupied during the day ; so at four 
o'clock our line was formed and the order given to ad- 
vance. My brigade was formed in two lines, and at the 
command, jumped over the breastworks and pushed 
ahead in beautiful order; but having to cross a cornfield 
m very short range of the enemy's works, they opened 
on us such a fearful fire of artillery and musketry that 
I lost one hundred and fifty-nine men killed and 
wounded before I gained the desired position. Once 
there, we held on, and very soon threw up a little work 
along our line which covered my men very nicely. 

It is truly wonderful, the quickness with which our 
soldiers can throw up sufficient earth' to protect them 
from rifle balls. Bayonets, spoons, hands, sticks, — al- 
most anything is used to " scratch dirt," and like magic 
a line of two or three thousand men who are one mo- 
ment exposed to every shot will be pitching head fore- 
most into the earth, like moles. 

The brigade of regulars on my left, lost even more 
heavily than I. We are now holding the position 
gained at that time, but as I said before, so close are 
we to the "Johnnies," that both sides are Hving in 
holes in the ground. I am for the first time occupying 
a little bomb-proof headquarters, made of pine logs with 
sand outside, which protects myself and staif perfectly 
so long as we can remain inside. I tried being without 
cover the first day, but had two men on guard at my 
head-quarters and three of our horses, shot ; so I made 
up my mind to "go into garrison." Since then we have 
been more comfortable, but the bullets do whistle around 
iQ a terrible way ; every tree near us is riddled. 

Many of my men are becoming splendid marksmen. 
The men from western New York, that I got last winter, 
are almost all good shots, and ha\^ been inflicting severe 
punishment upon the enemy. I have stopped the firing 
of my pickets once or twice, for I think it nothing less 


than murder, but just so soon as my men stojD, the ras- 
cals commence to crawl up towards us so that we are 
forced to open fire again. I take it for granted that all 
these matters interest you all, more than anything else 
that I can write. 

I saw General Warren last evening at his head-quar- 
ters and had a very nice talk with him. He appears to 
know you very well, remembers dear Fanny, and talked 
about you all for some time. 

He said a great many very kind things to me which 
I can tell you, but 23lease do not repeat except at home. 
General Warren told me that his corps was very proud 
of my command, and of me ; and that he had recom- 
mended me for brigadier-general, and that I stood third 
on the list from the corps. I thanked him, of course, but 
told him that I did not anticipate anything of the kind 
from him. He said that I deserved it, and should have 
it ; that everybody in the corps wanted me to have it. 
Don't think me foolish, dear papa, or that I am puffed 
up by foolish speeches. I only tell you these things 
just as they are told to me, and because I know that 
you all feel interested in my position and success. 

I cannot understand why everybody is making such 
a fuss about me, for I have not done anything that I am 
aware of, which calls for it. My men have indeed done 
nobly and I am proud of them ; but it really makes me 
very sad when I think that I am in any manner being 
benefitted by the loss of so many brave men ; and I al- 
most feel ashamed that I have not been hit. But O, how 
I do long for the time when I can return to you all and 
be free from this unnatural excitement. 

I am unable to give you any news about the move- 
ments of the army generally. There is some new 
movement on foot. I believe it to be another demon- 
stration upon the enemy's right flank ; but everything is 
kept exceedingly quiet. I cannot think that we shall 
attempt another assault upon the works of the enemy. 


if we can get around them in any possible way, for the- 
sacrifice of life is too heavy. 

The plan of Generals Grant and Meade appears to> 
be to work upon the communications of Lee toward the 
south, which if successful will of course put Lee in a bad 
box. He has now only one channel of supplies open, 
i. e., the road through Weldon, and I imagine that their 
visions of short rations must be getting very distinct 
and unpleasant. 

We are hoping that the rebs may be holding out 
only for the Chicago Convention on the fourth of July, 
and that if they can glean no hope from that they may 
decide to give up a worse than bad job. I pray God 
that this army may not suffer a defeat meanwhile, for 
the effect upon the whole country would be most disas- 
trous. Under God, nothing but some terrible mistake 
or mismanagement could produce such a direful result, 
for we must outnumber the enemy by some forty thou- 
sandrmen, and we have a good and secure base, which is 
the most important part 

1 forwarded the letter for Dr. Richardson. His 
young relative is safe and well. As to Lieutenant 
Stewart, I do not know whether he is alive or not. I 
heard it rumored that he had been killed, but do not 
know. If I can learn anything of him I will let you 

I must bid you good-night, and go to bed, for it is 
very late, and the Johnnies do not suffer me to sleep 
much. Even as I write a bullet grazes the top of my 
log house and whistles through the trees. 

Best love to all the loved ones, and with a heartfull. 
for yourself, dear papa, I am as ever. 

Your loving son, Howard. 


On Norfolk and Petersburg R. R., Two miles from ) 
Petersburg, Sunday afternoon, June 26, 1864. ) 

My own precious Mamma : — My command lias 
just been relieved, temporarily, from the horrible rifle- 
pits which we have occupied since Saturday the 18th, 
after our famous charge on the enemy's works, which we 
did not take. 

That night, Saturday, as soon as it became dark, I 
advanced my line about two hundred yards nearer the 
enemy, and threw up a new line of breastworks, and 
there we have remained nntil to-day. The heat has 
been terrible, and having no shelter from the broiling 
sun, many of my poor fellows have been completely 
used up. The thermometer stood 105° in the shade yes- 
terday, so you can imagine the condition of things in a 
narrow rifle-pit, dug in the sand, and without shelter 
from the sun. Our lines are now so close to the enemy 
that if a man shows his head above the breastworks on 
either side — bang ! bang ! a volley of musketry will 
warn him not to be guilty of such rashness again. Im- 
mediately after dark, however, we all jump out of our 
holes and stretch ourselves ; spades, shovels, and picks 
are put in requisition to strengthen the line or to dig 
underground passages from one line to the other , officers 
who have been unable to leave their pits during the day, 
visit each other to talk over the little events of the day, 
and until midnight the entire line appears to be alive. 

My command has been so much exposed, and lost so 
many men during the past week, that a brigade was 
sent out to relieve me ; and I have my men now en- 
camped in a nice woods, not quite out of reach of shell, 
but where it is clean, and where both officers and men 
are enjoying themselves, washing and resting. 

I have not had much of the day to myself as yet, for 
we have just made camp, and I want to write you a few 
words at least, to tell you of my continued health and 
safety. This little matter off in the mail, I am promis- 


ing myself a nice quiet Sunday evening. Not but that 
it is a real pleasure to write to you all, dearest mamma, 
but I get so little time or opportunity to be quiet ; or 
even to read my Bible unmolested, that it is doubly ap- 
preciated when a real Sunday is granted me. 

Mr. C is to have a meeting this evening, the fii'st 

opportunity since crossing the Chickahominy ; but it is 
very, very sad to see the gaps made in our little congre- 
gations by these merciless bullets. Many of our Chris- 
tian soldiers have glorified their Master by a soldier's 
death; and two of the leading spirits of these little 
meetings, Sergeants Hart and Hutton, have been killed, 
making a sad difference in everything connected with 

Mr. C has completely won the hearts of both 

officers and men by his kindness to our w^ounded. He is 
truly a wonderful man, and is becoming quite celebrated 
in the entire army 

-^^^^^= — and have been ordered before a military 

commission, and will be discharged from the service. 
With these two men I trust that the last remnant of the 
wicked influences, which have so terriblj^ injured this 
regiment, will have departed, and that hereafter the 
Lord's work will go on untramraeled. 

I received another dear, lovely letter from L yes- 
terday. These dear letters from yourself and L 

are so comforting to me, and always have something in 
them which goes right to some needy spot in my wicked 
heart. Never had any one such friends as I. I bless 
God constantly for them and only wish that I deserved a 
tithe of the love so constantly lavished upon me 

The Lord is certainly blessing me for the sake of my 

friends. Give my best love to all the dear ones 

God bless you, my own precious mamma ! That you 
arid dearest papa may be preserved many, many years, 
to those who love you so dearly, and that your children 
may be able to comfort your declining days, is the con- 
stant prayer of your loving son, Hovtard. 


June 30, 1864. 

My DEA.REST Papa: — Yours of 25th is at hand. 
Many, many thanks for the stationery ; it is most ac- 

I am very grateful that the article you allude to, 
speaks so justly of my brave men, who, by their cool 
bravery and willing obedience, have been the material 
cause of my success. A braver or more perfectif/ obe- 
dient regiment of men does not exist. In our terribly 
severe charge of the 18th June, the regiment was joined 
in line witli the brigade of regulars, and eUcited the 
warmest praise from them and their officers, for their 
behavior under such terrible fire. 

Poor fellows, I wonder that they can find heart to 
speak .1 good word for me, having been so frequently 
rushed into almost certain death by my orders. 

There is no general news. Our cavalry have been 
operating on the Danville railroad, but have not as yet 
returned. We are in the trenches still, but have made a 
kind of arrangement on both sides " not to fire at each 
other unless to combat some movement." This does not 
include officers, however ; I wish it did. The moment 
an officer shows himself he becomes the target for sev- 
eral rifles from the enemy. The rebel officers cannot 
be so easily distinguished, evqn though we had the same 
disposition to j^ick them off, which, thank God, our sol- 
diers have not. 

In riding along my line yesterday, one of my staff 
officers remarked that my large horse would probably 
draw fire, when " zip ! " a rifle bullet whistled past his 
head, making him rear and plunge, so that I thought he 
had been hit, and looked him all over, trying to find the 
Avound. I have been very fortunate in this campaign 
as regards my horses, not having lost one of my own yet. 

I am very uneasy at what you tell me of your 
anxiety about me. I am in the Lord's hands, dear 
papa. He, who has spared me thus far, can certainly 


take care of me in the future. Do not let it prey upon 

your mind 

lam very glad that you and dearest mamma are 
spending a little time at Oscawana. I hope the change 
will strengthen mamma. Good bye. God bless you 
all. Your loving son, Howard. 


July 3, 1864. 

• • • • What a Sunday for a Christian man to spend ! 
Occupied the whole day with my duties here — scarcely 
time to pray. 

How I wish that I could be with you to-morrow. 
Rumor says that we may have a noisy Fourth here. My 
skirmish line is banging away now in a manner that 
quite eclipses anything of the kind in New York, and 
the enemy's mortar shells, which they will insist upon 
throwing over here (altiiough they go right over ib 
without injuring any one), make a terrible noise, roaring 
and hissing through the air like so many air-locomo"^ 


In Teenxhes near Petersburg, ) 
Wednesday Evening, July 6, 1864. 1 

My dearest Papa: — Your kind and interesting 
letter of the 2d instant reached me last evening 

I am pushing my line ahead to-night, and throwing 
up new works, so can only scribble a few words. 

I am gradually crawling up to the " Johnnies' " works. 
I moved forward last night more than one hundred 
yards without losing a man. My men are just in the 
spirit of it, and advanced so cautiously and quietly that 
the " Johnnies " were apparently exceedingly astonished 
this morning, to find a stout line of rifle-pits a hundred 
yards nearer them than at " tattoo." There exists con- 
siderable rivalry amongst the different divisions and 
brigades as to which shall approach the enemy's lines 


most rapidly. To-morrow morning, if I am successful 
to-night, my line will be within about four hundred 
yards of theirs. 

The men are so near each other now that they call 
out to one another in a most amusing way. Last even- 
ing the enemy called to us " Yanks " that their time 
would be out in three days, " when they were coming 
over to see us." 

On " the Fourth " there were some North Carolina 
troops in front of us, and when we raised our " stars 
and strijDCS " on our breastworks and the band played 
Star Spangled Banner, the rebs took in their se- 
cession rag and cheered lustily. I believe that were 
it not for our politicians these two armies would settle 
this matter and reconstruct the Union in twenty-four 

The news that Ewell is at Harper's Ferry, does not 
scare us very badly here, although I see that it is creat- 
ing something of a bobbery at the North. One of our 
divisions, Rickett's, of the Sixth Corps, was sent around 
to Sigel to-day. There is no news of interest here. 
Don't believe the newspapers, I beg of you ! . . . . 

Well, I must away. If you hear a heavy musketry 
to-night, you will understand it to be my line advancing! 

May our heavenly Father bless you all, and have you 
in his gracious keepmg, ever prays your loving son, 


The severe mental struggle which Howard 
Kitching alludes to in the next letter was one of 
the " great fight of afflictions," through which 
many a stout heart had to pass in this war. They 
were most of them young men, who had not only 
left their family and homes, but their business, 
and sacrificed every temporal advantage to serve 
their country in her hour of need, and the har- 


rassing thought was ever j^resent, that if they fell 
in battle, their loved ones were unprovided for. 

Ix Rifle-pits, near Petersburg, July 12, 1864. 
My dearest kind Papa : — Your loving letter of 
last Saturday, written at Dobb's Ferry, has just arrived, 
and you cannot imagine how your kindness makes me a 
new man for the balance of the campaign. You are all 
so kind to my darling wife and boy that I know I ought 
not to worry about them, but the ever-present thouoht 
that in the event of my death they would be left unp'^'o- 
vided for, is one continual nightmare to me. I cannot 
shake it off, do what I may. I re'ason with myself 
about duty to my country, and all that, and yet the 
fear that I may have done wrong in entering or remain- 
ing in the service against so many discouragements and 
over so many obstacles (intended, it may be, to have 
prevented my doing this,) will remain with me day and 
nightr .... 

I can tell you this, papa, without fear of your misun- 
derstanding it ; for I am confident that you know 7io 
other consideration would induce me to "look back, 
having once put my hand to the plough." I pray con- 
tmually for impHcit trust in the God of the flitlierless, 
and I have endeavored to fight as became a Christian 
soldier. No man dare hint that I have ever hesitated 
to lead where men ought to follow; yet the torment 

of my anxiety for H and my boy, is none the less 


You can then imagine why your past kindnesses, and 
especially your last letter, should give me new con- 
fidence, and help to lift this weight off my mind. 

.... God grant that at some future day I may be 
able to return all your loving kindness. I am so thank- 
ful that darling mamma is better. I feared that her 
trip to Oscawana and her adventures there might have 
proved an injury instead of a benefit. Give her my 


best love. I will rej)ly to her dear lovely letter to-mor- 
row, if I live. 

Our situation here remains about the same. We are 
gradually advancing our lines, strengthening them as we 
go. There is the constant fire of artillery and mortar- 
shells, but not so much musketry of late. I have lost 
several good men yesterday and to-day by mortar-shells, 
and had three very narrow escapes myself; having been 
covered with dirt, and grazed by pieces of shell — but 
thank God, I am all right yet. I am now getting some 
batteries into position, which I trust will drive the rebs 
away from the guns which are annoying us so much. 

The Maryland affair is assuming larger proportions 
than at first, but I still doubt whether Lee has weakened 
his forces here to any considerable extent. The raiders 
I believe to be mostly from in front of Hunter. 

Good night. Our heavenly Father bless you all, and 
reunite us here, or hereafter. Your loving and grateful 
son, Howard. 

Trenches near Petersburg, Sunday midnight, July 17, 1804. 

My precious Sister: — We are all under arms 
awaiting an attack of the enemy, so I can only say a 

I had intended writing you a long letter this evening 
in reply to your dear lovely letter of Monday last, re- 
ceived last night ; but a deserter from the enemy com- 
ing into my lines and informing me that the enemy were 
massing large bodies of troops in my front, preparatory 
to an attack to-night, set me at work, as you may im- 
agine, getting everything in readiness to receive our 

So instead of being able to spend this Sunday even- 
ing telling you and H what a precious Sunday I 

have enjoyed I have been obliged to almost forget every- 
thing but how best to arrange every means in my power 
for the slaughter of my fellow creatures. But this is 


I have placed my brigade in two lines, four ranks 
deep, batteries on my flanks ; everything is ready to open 
on our enemies at the proper time. Just now every- 
thing is unusually quiet — the ominous hush before the- 
storm. Before day-break the whole earth about here 
may be trembling with the roar of cannon and the shock, 
of struggling men. If the enemy attack, and we repulse 
him, as by God's help, /mean to, just here — we shall 
follow him up, endeavoring to rush into his works when 
he does. But man proposes, God disposes — we can 
only do our best. 

The dear Lord has been very near me to-day, my dar- 
ling. It has been Sunday in my heart, as well as in the 
almanac. It seems as though I have obtained a better 
realization of the all-sufficiency of the Saviour's sacri- 
fice, than ever before — its adaptation to every individual 

• My precious sister, I cannot express my thankfulness 

for your dear letters, which with T 's, mamma's, 

and all the rest, are such loving aids in showing my 
path and assisting me to follow it. Never had any one 
such friends as I ; and when each mail brings me a dear 
letter from one of you, with its words of cheer, I feel as 
though I could never thank God sufiiciently for such 
blessings. As you say, darling, I ought to be good and 
happy, for I believe no one ever had as many dear ones 
praying for him as I. When I look back and compare 
my religious privileges with those of others, I shudder 
to think how obstinately wicked I must be to resist such 

But I must stop scribbling, for my little desk and 
private papers are not safe here, and should be sent to 
the rear ; so I must bid you good night and shut up my 

God bless you, my own darling sister. Thank dear 

T for his kind letter. You and he are just my 

ideal of true patriots. Although your knowledge of 


•" the situation " is not sufficiently detailed to enable you 
to see as we do many causes for our want of success in 
the wickedness and selfishness of our leaders, yet it is 
as well you should not know — and I trust that God 
will save our country, notwithstanding our national 

Don't worry about me. If we are, as I suppose, on 
the eve of another battle, the same strong arm that has 
thus far kept me, will keep me still. 

This letter is all " I," but my darling will pardon it. 
Your loving brother, Howard. 

In Trenches near Petersburg, July 18, 1864. 

My o^vn H : — I scratched you a miserable little 

note last night while awaiting an attack of the enemy 
which did not " come off," so to-night I will drop you a 
line to tell you that I am all right — have not been 

fighting, but am terribly homesick All this 

makes me blue — but it is the Lord's will, and must he 

I came so near being ordered to Washington 

yesterday with my regiment that it is quite a disappoint- 
ment to me that the order was countermanded. It seems 
ithat a regiment of heavy artillery was ordered by Grant 
to go to Washington for permanent duty on the fortifica- 
tions. As my regiment has been more hardly used and 
suffered more than any other. General Meade decided to 
send it, and was just issuing the order, when an order 
came from Grant, countermanding it until it can be 
ascertained whether or not one of the regiments now 
there with the Sixth Corps will remain. Wasn't it a 
narrow escape ? 

I hear that General Meade spoke of retaining me 
here as a brigade commander in case he sends my reg- 
iment, but do not know how that would have been. . . 
. . . There is nothino: new with us. Continual shoot- 
ing at each other by the sharp-shooters with every now 


and then a twelve pounder solid shot, or twenty-four 
pounder mortar shell tearing through my head-quarters 
making everything ring again. I have had to put up a 
little fortification to protect my horses, for the rascals 
shoot them right in front of my tent. 

Major Shonnard leaves for home in the morning. O, 
how I envy him, and how delighted his mother will be 
to get him safe home. He has done his duty as a sol- 
dier in a fearless manner and carries with him the respect 
of all his brother officers He is a splendid fel- 
low, and has proved himself a true friend of mine. . . . 
. . I must to bed, my darling, for it is midnight. Do 
you read the chapter every night ? Don't forget to pray 
for me, precious ! Keep veiy near to the dear Lord. 
May He bless you with his choicest blessings. Kiss my 
boy for his papa. 

Trenches near Petersburg, Saturday Evening, ) 
July 23, 1864. ) 

My dearest Papa : — I am so " chock full," of good 
news to-night that I must give my dear ones the benefit 
of it. I enclose an official copy of telegram received 
to-day from Sherman, which speaks for itself. He is 
doing wonders. 

I consider Atlanta to be of more importance, in a 
military point of view, than Richmond. 

Next, General A. J. Smith has thrashed the rebs 
soundly upon the same ground where our General 
Sturgis was defeated recently; and that will perhaps 
please you all equally well with all this good news. 

Lastly, my regiment has been ordered to Washington 
to take charge of the defenses there. I received the 
order this morning, and am getting the regiment in read- 
iness to move so soon as the Sixth Army Corps returns 
to this army. I learn that General Grant ordered Gen- 
eral Meade to send one regiment of heavy artillery to 
Washington, and General Meade said that as my regi- 


ment had done infantry duty so long and so well, and 
had suffered so heavily, it deserved the first chance for 
rest and recuperation. I cannot help feeling pleased ; 
for coming as the order does, unsolicited, and as a kind 
of reward of merit, it does us no harm as soldiers, and 
is very acceptable. 

My command in Washington will be quite extensive ; 
a brigade covering a line of works of about eight miles. 
Truly the Lord has been wonderfully kind to me. 

I at first thought that after getting my regiment nicely 
fixed in garrison, I would apply for a command in this 
army again, as I am told that General Meade will give 
me a brigade here if I wish it ; but on second thought, I 
feel that T ought not to do so. I have shown my will- 
ingness to fight, I hope, when it has been my duty, and 
the Lord has preserved me miraculously. Now that He 
has opened this way of serving my country with equal 
honor, and greater safety, it seems hardly right to volun- 
teer anything, simply to gain military reputation. Write 
me what you think. 

I have been to head-quarters to-day, and find that 
every one thinks that my regiment has earned this re- 
spite and that / ought to take it. Won't H be 

glad? .... 

My regiment, officers and men, are delighted, and 
have been cutting such capers on their breastworks that 
the Johnnies wanted to know what was the matter. 
' The rebs are getting very sulky over the news from 
Atlanta. They have forbidden all intercourse between 
their men and ours, and are now amusing themselves 
by throwing a shell occasionally into our lines; and 
perhaps suspecting that I am about leaving they throw 
them unpleasantly near my head-quarters. 

Please send this letter to H for I cannot write 

her to-night, and if she only learns that I am coming to 
Washington, she will be so pleased as not to care how 
she gets the information. I will write to her to-morrow 
if I live 


This letter is as usual, all about myself ; my desire to 
tell you what I know will interest you, being my only 

God bless you all ! How can we thank Him enough 
for his wonderful kindness to us. 

Good-night, my dearest papa. Love to darling 
mamma and all. Ever your loving son, Howard. 

Before Petersburg, July 29, 1864. 
Friday Night, one o'clock. 

My precious, darling Wifie : — I have just re- 
ceived orders to move in an hour (at two o'clock) into 
position, preparatory to the grand assault upon the 
enemy's line. 

Burnside with the Ninth and Eighteenth Corps is to 
make the assault, supported by our corps. My brigade 
has been selected as the leading one of the Fifth Corps. 

I had hoped that on your account I might leave for 
Washington before another fight, but it is God's will that 
it should be otherwise. He will take care of me as He 
has always done. Don't be worried, my own little pre- 
cious wifie ! I will get word to you immediately after 
the fighting is over. 

If it should be the Lord's will that anything should 
happen to me — always trust Him for everything. Let 
nothing weaken your trust in Him. Bring my boy up 
to know and love Him. 

Never forget, my own, sweet wife, how dearly I have 
loved you. You are my best earthly blessing. 

^ Good-by, my darling! I will write to-morrow 
night, God willing. I trust I may date my letter in 

May the dear Master bless you. Trust IRm, darling, 
and Be will. .... 

Gradually advancing their lines and strengthen- 
ing them as tliey went, when the system of works 


was completed, the SOtli July was fixed upon to 
make an assault on the enemy's position. To 
further this coup-de-mai7i, under the direction of 
General Burnside, a mine was dug under a fort, 
the destruction of which, it was thought, would se- 
cure the fall of Petersburg. 

This appears to have been a wretchedly mis- 
managed affair. There was lamentable error some- 
where, ai\d the sacrifice of many brave fellows was 
the consequence. 

The explosion of the mine was the signal for a 
simultaneous outburst of artillery fire, all along 
the hue, from the various batteries. The earth 
shook for miles around, under this terrific fire. 
The enemy's guns were soon silenced. 

When the assaulting column reached the fort, it 
was found to have been converted by the explo- 
sion into a huge crater. 

In the men poured without hesitation, and 
pressed on till they were met by the deadly fire 
of the enemy. Here they stood at bay. The sev- 
eral divisions pressing in became mixed up ; and a 
scene of disorder and confusion commenced which 
seems to have continued to the end of the conflict. 
The withering fire of the enemy made frightful 
havoc. For two hours our brave men fought des- 
perately, but, being unsupported, at length with- 
drew in utter confusion. 

Colonel Kitching expresses the feeling of the 
army at "this miserable affair." The whole 
country, which had been filled with rumors of the 


fall of Petersburg, was chagrined and saddened by 
the issue. , 

In Camp, near Petersburg, / 
Tuesday Evening, August 2, 1864. ) 

My precious JVIamma : — I commenced a letter to 
you last eveniug, but after writing a page or so, I found 
that it was too soon after our recent disgraceful failure 
for me to write to any one, and that I was saying many 
things that an officer commanding a brigade ought not 
to say ; so I tore my letters up, said my prayers, and 
went to bed. 

I see by the papers just received, that everybody at 
home was led to believe for a time that our assault upon 
Petersburg had been successfid, and that we were in 
possession of the place, and, indeed, so we should have 
been, had there been any management of affairs upon 
the field. 

At eleven o'clock Friday night, I received orders to 
move my brigade at two o'clock to the front of General 
Bumside's line, and then go into position, preparatory 
to supporting him in his assault at three o'clock. My 
brigade was to lead the division. I did as ordered, and 
at three o'clock received orders to remain in position till 
further orders. At 4.45, a.m., the mine under the 
enemy's battery in our front was blown up, and at that 
signal the artillery along our whole line opened upon 
the enemy. Such an infernal noise was never heard 
before by mortal ears. Gettysburg, Malvern Hill, and 
Antietam would not compare with it. At that moment 
the infantry should have charged, but did not move till 
some time after, giving the enemy time to recover from 
their surprise and prepare to resist our assault. 

When the storming party did move, it was composed 
of blacks, instead of white soldiers, as it should have 
been, and in consequence the work was but half done. 
Still our column pushed into two of the enemy's lines 
of works, and if our division had been ordered to sup- 


port them, all would have gone well ; but for some rea- 
son no order came to Warren to put us in, and the Ninth 
Corps was driven back. 

Never, in my opinion, has the army had such a 
chance of complete success ; never has such a chance 
been so completely thrown away. 

I had watched ??^y men with considerable anxiety be- 
fore the attack opened, for they having learned that 
they had been ordered to Washington, I feared that they 
might be unwilling to go into another fight, if they 
could help it ; but on the contrarj^, I never saw men so 
eager for a fight. I could scarcely keep them quiet. 
Every man could see the enemy's weakness and just 
what was required to enable us to rout them completely ; 
and yet no order came, and we were forced to lie still 
and see our men fall back. The loss in my command 
was very slight : one officer and seven men, all day. 

The entire army is terribly chagrined at the " fizzle ; " 
a board of officers is investigating the matter now, and 
I trust that the responsible party may suffer. 

No one knows anything of our future movements. 
You will all be very much disappointed that I have not, 
as yet, left for Washington, and, indeed, I do not think 
that I shall go at all now. The programme has changed 
so materially that I do not think my regiment will be 
sent. You may imagine my disappointment, particu- 
larly now But it must be " all well " or it would 

not be so, and I endeavor to be contented. My chief 

disappointment is on account of H and my dear 

ones at home. Your dear letters, from yourself, H , 

and Louise, reached me last night ; all so joyous at my 
being ordered to Washington, and now if I should not 
go, your disappointment will be in proportion. 

God's will be done. He has so wonderfully cared 
for me through three years of peril. He can surely be 
trusted implicitly now. 

You ask about my health. I have not been very 


well for more than a month, but did not desire Shon- 

nard to say anything about it at home Severe 

exercise or excitement have been very painful at times, 
but since we have been in the trenches I have been able 
to rest a great deal, and as I am evidently improving, I 
did not say anything of it in my letters, for I knew it 
would do no good, but only worry you all if you 
thought me ill. 

I am very anxious about you, darling. . . . . I am 
very glad you are going to Oscawana for a time, for 
you always appear to improve there. Don't get lost in 
the woods again ! 

I am so crazy to see the new home. Every one 
writes of its beauty and comfort, till I think it must be 
a little paradise. Any liome would be a paradise to me 
now, after my three years soldiering. 

.... How I would like to go fishing with papa at 
the Lake ! But it is late, and 1 must stop scribbling. 
If fSu'can read this, I shall be much surprised ; I write 
such a dreadful hand —but then all great men do ! 

Thank you again, my darling mamma, for your kind, 
loving letters. Give my love to all, and with a heart 
full for yourself and dear papa, I am, your loving son, 


to major shonnard. 

Camp near Petersburg, Wednesday Evening, \ 
■ 3, 1864. ) 


My dear Fred : — Your most kind and interesting 
letter has just been received and read with great pleas- 
ure. I note all you say about the best interests of the 
regiment, and will endeavor to reply at length to-morrow. 
I have only a few minutes now. 

You have ere this learned of the failure of our 
assault upon Petersburg on Saturday last. I am sorry 
to confess it, but it was truly the most disgraceful 
"fizzle" of the whole campaign. Everything was 


planned well and wisely, and up to a certain point 
succeeded, but the assaulting party did not do their duty, 
or the works would have been ours. 

The negroes behaved badly, and yet in my opinion 
if our division had been ordered in, we would have car- 
ried everything. I speak of our division because we 
were lying all ready to support the storming party, and 
from our position just in front of the exploded mine 
could see everything. General Warren selected the 
third brigade to lead our division and I went into position 
at three o'clock, just where Burnside's corps crossed our 
works to go out. 

The state of the case was so simple, the enemy's 
weakness so apparent, that our men were just bewitched 
to push forward, and it was with the greatest regret that 
the order suspending offensive operations was received. 
I wish that I had time to give you a detailed account of 
the whole affair, but I have not. The artillery fire on 
our side was in my opinion, and I believe has been gen- 
erally pronounced, the most magnificent ever witnessed. 
The enemy's fire was completely subdued, and had the 
infantry done half as well, Petersburg would have been 
ours. However, there is no philosophy in bemoaning 
our ill success now ; the only way is to atone for it. 
The loss in my brigade was slight ; one ofiicer, Gilberts, 
slightly, and seven men wounded. A court of inquiry 
is in progress for the purpose of fixing the responsibility 
of our defeat, and I earnestly hope that the guilty party 
may suffer. 

It would have done your soldier's heart good, my dear 
fellow, to have seen the Sixth Artillery throughout that 
whole day. Moved suddenly at two o'clock in the 
morning, without coffee, they all thought that we were 
on our road to Washington ; and when I told them that 
on the contrary they were to lead our division in a des- 
perate assault on the enemy's works, in place of the 
demoralization which I feared on account of their disap- 


pointment, there was nothing but manifestations of joy 
at our having been selected for the work, and the most 
evident determination to do it thoroughly. The only 
disappointment appeared to be that they were not per- 
mitted to retrieve the day with the bayonet. 

Fred, it is a noble regiment. I am well pleased that 
brave Crosby is doing so well. He well deserves his 
promotion. Many thanks, my kind friend, for your san- 
guine expressions regarding my promotion, but I am not 

so sauguine Having tried to do my duty to and 

with my command, I am willing to leave all else with 
One who has already blessed me beyond, far beyond 
my deserts, or even hopes. 

I trust that ere this you have been able to meet my 
mother and sisters. They are most anxious to see you. 
Write whenever you can ; your kind letters are most 
grateful to me, I assure you. Eemember me kindly to 
your parents, and believe me as ever, 
— Your sincere friend, 

John Howakd Kitching. 
P. S. Reiran, of " E " company, was wounded in 
the foot', May'^SOth and sent to hospital. From what I 
can learn, he was hit slightly. 

Near Petersburg, Virginia, August 7th, 1864. 
My own sweet Wife : — This has been a terribly 
uncomfortable day. The heat is intense, the dust suffo- 
cating, and the flies unbearable. No one ever experi- 
enced such torment from flies since the plague of the 
Egyptians. Not such flies as we have at home, but 
great green chaps that bite like rattle-snakes, and stick 
like glue ! We can scarcely eat except before daylight, 
and after dark, and as to obtaining a wink of sleep, it is 
quite out of the question. 

I have been terribly homesick to-day. I always have 
a longing for home and my darlings, but sometimes it 
becomes to strong that for the time being it almost unfits 
me for my duties 


Everybody has been blue since our terrible " fiasco " 
on the 30th. The campaign has virtually ended without 
our capturing Richmond or indeed gaining any decided 
advantage, which amounts to a sacrifice of all the noble 
men who have fallen since we crossed the Rapidan. 

What Grant proi:)Oses to do now, nobody can imagine. 
We certainly need one himdred and fifty thousand men 
in addition to those we now have, to enable us to take the 
offensive. Had we been successful on the third, every- 
thing would have been different. We ought to have 
captured at least ten thousand prisoners and all the 
artillery that they have here, which would not only have 
weakened them numerically, but would have served to 
discourage them immensely as well as to encourage our 
people, and promote volunteering I do not pre- 
tend to cast the blame upon any individual, for I do not 
know enough of the orders issued during the day ; but 
somebody is to blame. 

Since the attack, my brigade has been lying in our 
present camp in the woods, just out of range of the 
enemy's missiles except now and then a large thirty- 
poimder, which comes whir-r-r-iug along. The lines are 

very quiet, however, most of the time How 

much we shall have to talk about, if God spares me to 
return to you. I really feel ten years older than I did 
before this campaign. Responsibility and constant care 
make one grow old very rapidly. 

I wonder how you have been occupied, to-day, dar- 
ling ? . . . . I have been reading over Theodore's little 
" Fountain of Living Waters," and love it more than 
ever Papa in his last letter mclosed some lit- 
tle scraps from a religious paper — they interested me 
so much that I inclose them 

We have very Httle opportunity for religious meetings 
now, as when the command is not in the front line, a 
large proportion is away on fatigue duty, building bat- 
teries, etc. Last Sunday we had church under the 


trees, and Mr. C. preached a first-rate practical sermon, 
to a most attentive congregation. The men think 
everything of Mr. C, and well they may. He has been 
most faithful and kind 

Fifth Akmy Corps, August 9tk, 1864- 
Dear Papa : — I inclose check, my wages from 
" Uncle Samuel " for tiie month of July. Heavy pay, is 
it not, for living in a hole in the ground and being shot 
at daily by " Johnny Reb." .... It may be the 
last full month's pay I shall ever receive. Who can 
tell? .... 

I inclose official copy of telegi'am received last night 
from Department of the Gulf. The news is good, 
particularly as it comes through rebel sources. I am 
anxious to learn how the " Tecumseh " was sunk. There 

is nothing new here Please tell Mr. Charters 

that liis friend, Lieutenant George D. Hyatt, died of 
cong^BBtion of the lungs in my hospital, soon after I last 
wrote him. We sent his body home. 

I trust that dear mamma is better. Give my best 
love to all. God bless you, dear papa. 

Your loving son, How^ard. 

There has just happened a terrible accident here. 
The large ordnance warehouse at City Point blew up 
to-day, killing and wounding a large number of men, 
and destroying a large amount of property. The ex- 
plosion shook the earth about here for fifteen miles. 

Ml-. C had a most providential escape. He was 

in the express office at City Point when the exj^losion 
occurred. The whole building, as well as all the build- 
ings in the neighborhood were destroyed ; men standing 
beside him were literally blown to pieces, and yet he 
escaped with only some slight bruises, and b^ing stunned 
for a time. Truly the ninety-first Psalm is verified lit- 
erally with those " who abide in the secret place of the 


Most High." " The destruction that wasteth at noon- 
day, does not come nigh them." 

I have just received a truly characteristic telegram 
from General Sherman, a copy of which I inclose. 

Yours lovingly, Howard. 


Near Atlanta, August 7th, 8.30 p. m. 

We keep hammering away here all the time, and 
there is no peace inside or outside of Atlanta. To-day, 
Schofield got round the flank of the line assaulted yes- 
terday by General Reilly's brigade, turned it, and 
gained the ground, with all our dead and wounded. We 
continued to press on that flank, and brought on a noisy, 
but not a bloody engagement. We drove the enemy be- 
hind his main breastworks, which cover the railroad 
from Atlanta to East Point. We captured a good 
many of the skirmishers, which are of their best troojDS, 
for their militia hug the breastworks close. 

I do not deem it prudent to extend more to the right, 
but will push forward dailj^ by parallels and make the 
inside of Atlanta too hot to be endured. I have sent 
to Chattanooga for two thirty-pounder parrotts, with 
which we can j^ick out almost any house in town. 

I am too impatient for a seige, but I don't know but 
here is as good a place to fight it out as further inland. 
One thing is certain — whether we go inside of Atlanta 
or not, it will be a used up community by the time we 
are done with it. 

[Signed.] W. T. Sherman, 


In his last letter from tlie trendies in front of 
Petersburg,*^' lie writes : — 

1 have learned in the army that it will not do for 


any one who professes to have experienced the love of 
Christ to conceal the fact. He must show his colors 
boldly. Not only so, but he must stand by them. It 
is just so everywhere. He or she who dares not come 
out on the Lord's side, before the world, although pro- 
fessing Him in the church, will possess the respect of 
no one, not even those who are openly impious. And 
more than all, they are more guilty in the Lord's sight 
than the open sinner. 

What Howard Kitching learned in the army, — 
that a soldier of the cross, to be respected, must 
show his colors boldly and stand by them, — is a 
truth confirmed by the experience of every Chris- 
tian. The coward, of whatever description, is an 
object of scorn ; whereas there is a kind of rever- 
ence for braver}^, even when men are inclined to 
wisht~it a better cause. And when a man has once 
declared himself the disciple of Christ, the Avorld 
expects him to act tip to the declaration ; and 
though it may despise his principles, and hate his 
preciseness, it will think the worse of him in pro- 
portion as he seems ashamed of his religion, and 
the better in proportion as he is firm in its main- 
tenance and display. 

The solution to the problem, of the Apostles' 
boldness before their enemies was, '' They had 
been with Jesus." And so must we be with Jesus, 
if we would bear good testimony for Him in the 
presence of the world. To have heard of Him, 
to have read of Him, is not enough ; we must he 
with Him ; walk with Him in a consenting will, 
love Him as having loved us, be joined to Him in 


one spirit. Thus alone can consistent testimony 
be borne to Him by his people. They who have 
been with Jesus fear not the pomp, nor the scoffs, 
nor the threats of men. The wmds may blow and 
the floods arise, and the rains come and beat on 
that house, but it shall not fall, for it is founded 
on a rock. A man's religion before the world is 
one of those things by which his genuineness and 
reality as a Christian are most readily tested. 

We cannot put on this character. It must result 
from the gradual accretion of many experiences, 
many trials, many failures, many prayers, years 
spent mider the eye and within the sound of the 
voice of the Saviour. We cannot build it up on 
the shifting sands of fashion, or on the soft and 
tempting soil of self-indulgence ; its foundations 
must be on the holy hills, or it will never stand. 

And it is a comfort to think that many a soldier 
who lies buried in these places, made desolate by 
the ruthless tramp of contending armies, — poor, 
and weak, and mean, and unlearned, many of 
them may have been, their names unknown except 
by a few comrades, — still there is cheer in the 
thought that they shall stand in the Great Roll- 
call, unabashed, with One to answer for them ; 
their names known in heaven, for they are writ- 
ten in the Lamb's book of life. They loved their 
Redeemer here — they walked with Him, they 
served Him, they confessed Him, — and He will 
not deny them there. 


" I say to thee — do thou repeat 
To the first man thou majest meet 
In lane, highway, or oj^en street, — 

" That he and we and all men move 
Under a canopy of love. 
As broad as the blue sky above ; 

" That doubt and trouble, fear and pain 
And anguish, all are shadows vain, 
That death itself shall not remain ; 

" That weary deserts we may tread, 
A dreary labyrinth may thread. 
Through dark ways underground be led ; 

" Yet, if we will one Guide obey, 
The dreariest path, the darkest way 
Shall issue out in heavenly day ; 

" And we, on divers shores now cast, 
Shall meet, our perilous voyage past, 
All in our Father's house at last." 

Dean Trench. 


** For now we see through a glass, darkly ; but then face to lace: 
now I know in part ; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 

1 Cor. xiii. 12. 

Haed pressed as Lee found himself in his be- 
leagured hnes behind Petersburg, he r<3solved on 
a plan of relief which had before proved so suc- 
cessful. This was to make a diversion in favor of 
his own army by such a menace against Washing- 
toiTas would compel Grant to part with so many 
troops from the army of the Potomac that offen- 
sive operations against Petersburg must cease. 

The force detached by Lee for this expedition 
consisted of a body of twelve thousand men under 
General Early. Following the beaten track of in- 
vasion, Early marched rapidly down the Shenan- 
doah Valley. 

From the peculiar situation of that valley in a 
military point of view, it was always open to a de- 
tached force to make incursions across the frontier 
of the loyal States, whether for the purpose of 
plunder or of a diversion in favor of the main Con- 
federate army, by a menace against Washington. 

'' The only force at hand with which to dispute 
Early's advance, was a body of a few thousand 


foot artillerists, hundred days' men and invalids 
under General Wallace, then in command at Bal- 
timore. But on learning of the irruption of the 
enemy across the Potomac, General Grant detached 
the Sixth Corps from the Army of the Potomac, 
and forwarded it by transports to Washington. It 
happened, too, at this juncture, that the Nine- 
teenth Corps, under General Emory, which had 
been ordered from New Orleans, after the failure 
of the Red River expedition, had just arrived in 
Hampton Roads. Without debarking it was sent 
forward to follow the Sixth. 

The advanced division of the Sixth Corps under 
General Ricketts having arrived. General Wallace, 
with that added to his heterogeneous force, moved 
forward to meet Early, and took position on the 
Monocacy. Here he received battle on the 8th, 
and though he was discomfited, the stand he made 
gained time that was of infinite value." 

On the 11th, Early's van halted before the for- 
tifications covering the northern approaches to 
Washington. By afternoon his infantry came up 
and showed a strong line in front of Fort Stevens. 
Early had an opportunity to dash into the city, 
the works being very slightly defended. Great 
was the panic in Washington, and the alarm 
throughout the northern States was almost as 

But the rebel commander hesitated and lost 
time, and during the day the Sixth Corps arrived, 
and was soon followed by the Nineteenth. 


On the 12th July, a brigade of the Sixth Corps 
made a sally from the lines and fell upon and 
drove the enemy for a mile, suffering a loss, but in- 
flicting heavier damage on the enemy. That night 
Early withdrew across the Potomac, pursued by 
General Wright, who did not overtake the enemy 
until he reached the Shenandoah Valley. 

But though driven back, the rebel commander 
bivouacked in the valley, and kept up such a 
threatening attitude that it was found impossible 
to return the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps to the 
Army of the Potomac. No sooner was this at- 
tempted, than Early was again across the border 
and threatening Washington. 

Colonel Kitching was ordered with his command 
to~Washington, to take charge of the defenses of 
that city, and arrived there on the 16th of August. 

Washington, 1st Brigade, Hardin's Division, ) 
22d Army Corps, August 17, 1864. 3 

My dear Papa : — I telegraphed you yesterday of 
my arrival here with my command. I reported to 
General Augm', and was at once placed in command of 
this brigade. 

General Augnr told me that I would find things in 
very bad shape, and indeed I do. There has been no 
system in the management of the command till every- 
thing has gotten wrong end foremost. I have relieved 
the former staff and am trying to get matters regulated, 
which will keep me very busy for ten days at least, when 
I hope to be able to take matters easier. 

The command is large, comprising thirteen forts with 
their garrisons, extending about eight miles. I have not 
yet been able to ride over my line, and see what I have 
jumped into. 


My officers and men are delighted to get into nice 
barracks after living as they have. I have a little cot- 
tage, two rooms, which I can clean up, and make very 
comfortable. My head-quarters are about four miles 
from Washington City. 

I am pretty well ; have a bad cold, but nothing more. 
.... My best love to all. I shall only have time to 
scribble a line now and then till I can get a little ahead 
of my work. 

It seems so queer to be able to lie down at night in 
quiet, without the danger of being blown to pieces by a 

mortar shell. I aj)preciate it, I assure you You 

cannot imagine how I thank God in my heart for this 
quiet — the absence of suffering and death which has 
accompanied our campaign in the field. God bless you 
all ! Your loving son, 


Pardon the style of this, dear papa. My experience 
here now is rather worse than it was when you visited 
me at Harper's Ferry, when I first took command of my 
regiment ; people running in every minute — no time 
for anything. 


Washington, August 18, 1804. 

..... How thankful I am, darling mamma, that 
the Lord has seen fit to remove my command from the 
field for a time. They have shown by their conduct a 
willingness to do their duty in any capacity, and now, so 
long as it is necessary that some troops should be here, 
I am very glad that it is my command. 

As I wrote papa, I am more busy just now than I 
ever have been in my life, but it will be so only for a 
week or two, till I get things running regularly. After 
that J expect to have a very easy time. 


I am much better in health than I have been for some 
time : the change has done me good. I shall try to get 
a few days with you soon, God willing. 

Poor Mr. C is in hospital. He is quite sick, but 

I hope will be better in a few days. 

It seems singular indeed, to be in a city again, after 
the past summer's experience. How mercifully has the 
Lord sjDared me when so many of my acquaintances have 
lost their liveS ; so many their limbs, or their health. 
If yoLi, darling, were only as strong and well as I am ! 
I shall wait for a letter from you most anxiously. 

Give my best love to all. Louise wrote me such a 
dear loving letter. No one was ever blessed with such 
dear friends as I. 

God bless you, my own precious mamma. 

Best love to dear papa, Theodore, and all 

Yours lovingly, Howard. 

Sunday Night, August 28, 1864. 

My own Darling : — I had intended writing you a 
nice long letter to-day, but an opportunity offered for 
me to attend church in town, and as I have not been in 
such a long time, I went. I have just returned, having 
enjoyed the services very much indeed — a real good 

sermon, beautiful music, and the dear old service 

I begin to feel quite civilized again You will 

see by the papers that my regiment just escaped anothei 
bloody fight by leaving Peterbsurg when it did. The 
Fifth Corps has again seized the Weldon Railroad, and 
the Fifteenth New York Artillery, one of the regiments 
of my brigade, has been very much cut up, losing its 
commanding officer and many others. 

How can we ever be sufficiently thankful to Him who 
Jias spared me in this miraculous way ! 


Washington, September 5, 1864. 

My dear Papa : — General Hardin being absent, 
I am temporarily in command of the division, with my 
head-quarters here in the city. 

I am getting along pretty well in tliis department, the 
only trouble being that my efficient force is too small by 
far for the work to be done — particularly as the works 
in my lines have been garrisoned by one hundred day 
troops, and have been suffered to get into exceedingly 
bad condition, requiring a great deal of extra labor to 
repair damages and put them in shape. 

My worst trouble is that many of my officers and 
men are getting sick. It is invariably so, when troops 
retm'n from the field into barracks. I cannot find that 
the locality is unhealthy, although this is the worst time 
of year here, from September first to the middle of Oc- 

The men having been so long in the field, eat every- 
thing, and do everything foolish, so that my hospitals 

are full I feel as though it would not be a very 

difficult matter for me to get sick with fever, or chills, or 
something of the kind. I am gaping and stretching all 
day long ; but I have taken a dozen grains of quinine 
daily for a few days, and feel much better this morning. 

When General Hardin returns, I will try again to ob- 
tain a leave for five days, for I am so anxious to see you 
all, and to attend to home matters, that I am very rest- 
less indeed. 

.... We are sending some troops to New York in 
anticipation of the draft ; but I do not apprehend any 

The news from Atlanta is glorious, is it not ? O, for 
a decisive victory in the East ! 

Give my best love to darling mamma, Gussie, Louisp 
and all. How are the little ones ? Thank dear Gussie 
for her lovely letter and the beautiful little painting. 
God bless you all. Ever your loving son, 



FoKT Reno, September 7, 1864. 

.... My dear little doctor (Baker) died yesterday,, 
after a week's illness, of ty^Dlioid fever. He had been 
at my head-quarters all through the campaign, and had 
endeared himself to all by his bravery and loveliness of 
character. The poor fellow never was sensible for a 
day after he was taken, and ran down to a mere shadow^ 

I am trying to get the government to allow me to 
issue to my men a ration of whisky and quinine daily, 
as a preventive against the malaria. I have been quite 
sick, myself, but am now quite well again. 

General Hardin inspected my brigade to-day, and was 
so pleased that he told me that I could have my leave 
whenever I asked for it ; so as soon as I can settle this 
matter of the major's, and get things in nice running 
order, I shall try to run home for two or three days. . . 

It was one of those glorious American sunsets, 
which defy the richest tints of the artist and the 
burning words of poet to paint. As we sat look- 
ing out of the casement of our little cottage on 
the banks of the Hudson, river, and cliff, and dis- 
tant hills, and fleecy clouds, all shimmering in the 
golden glow, a scene so hushed and lovely, we 
were led to contrast this quiet picture with the 
scenes of conflict and suffering through which our 
soldiers were passing. While thus talldng, the 
door opened softly and Howard stood before us, 
with beaming face and merry laugh at our sur- 

Only hearts that have long been weary with 
watching for the footsteps of one long absent, 
hourly facing death before a watchful foe, can 
reahze the comfort of such a meeting. 


The quiet eyening passed in talking over the 
.summer campaign, and Ave were filled with ever 
deepening wonder and gratitude at his escape. 
He fought over for us, in his life-like way, some of 
the desperate battles of the Wilderness, giving us 
a more graphic idea of the fearful struggles in that 
dreary region than we ever had before, and such 
glimpses of brave young Christian hves that ended 
there, that it saddened us to think no record should 
ever be had of them. 

A great change we saw had come over Howard 
Kitching. He was the same bright spirit as ever, 
and the old sunny smile still passed at times over 
his handsome face. But he had grown older, and 
his look was more often than before grave and 
quiet, and a sense of deep responsibiUty evidently 
weighed upon him. 

How many boys, just from their mothers' side, 
grew at once into manhood amid these scenes 
which taxed every energy of every man in the 

The following day we joined the family at 
the lovely lake of Oscawana. Howard was 
obliged to visit Albany on business, but returned 
to the lake at midnight, sick and weary. While 
we chafed his cold hands and a hot supper was 
preparing for him, our thoughts and conversation 
turned upon the three years that he had been ex- 
posed to cold, and want, and hardships of every 
kind, with no gentle hand to minister to him in 
sickness, or care for his comfort, and we began to 
feel that we could not spare him again. 


Late into the iiigM we sat around liim, urging 
him to leave the service. We pressed the fact 
that he had done his duty nobly, had shrunk 
from no sacrifice, and that now the clamis ot 
wife and child and mother were paramount, and 
from other family considerations, it was his dtdy 
to remain at home. There were those who needed 
the support of his strong arm, and now that the 
Lord had spared him so wonderfully, it seemed 
but right that he should return to other duties, 
and allow his place to be filled by young men who 
had fewer claims upon them. 

Howard hstened sadly to all our arguments, and 
they had weight enough to depress and perplex 
him, but the soldier'e heart was in the forefront 
of the conflict ; and the thought of staying at 
home,T5efore the day of final victory, seemed so 
painful, that we parted sorrowfully, grieving much 
that we had said anything on the subject. 

The next day was the last Sunday we were all 
to ioin in the beautiful service of our church. 
The pathos of its soul-subduing Litany never ap- 
peared deeper, the appropriateness of its tender 
petitions never more heartfelt. We met, a small 
congregation, in the parlor of the hotel. The 
preacher took for his text " Casting all your care 
upon Him, for He careth for yon." In speaking 
of the majesty of the Lord who careth for the 
sinner, he quoted the eloquent words of the poet: 
« He rides unseen on the hurrying storm ; 
He sits on the whirlwind's car ; 


He wraps in the clouds his awfiil form, 

And ti-avels from star to star. 
A thousand messengers wait his will, 

And a million heralds fly, 
And their Sovereign's high behest fulfill 

Through a vast eternity." 

And yet, though so exalted, the preacher added, 
He caretlifor you. Himself careth. He hath dele- 
gated to angels the ministering to your wants, but 
He hath not divested Himself of his love for you. 
Having loved you with an everlasting love — hav- 
uig written your poor name on the eternal pages 
of liis book of life — having drawn you, in his own 
manner, through the love of Jesus, to Himself, 
quickening and regenerating, washing and sancti- 
fying by Jesus' blood and Jesus' spirit. He has 
put you among his children. He has prepared and 
He destines for you an eternal home. But you are 
yet a poor sinner in the wilderness, journeying on- 
ward — and in the wilderness you have wants and 
sorrows, and dangers, and fears and conflicts. But 
amid them all the Father is caring for his child ! 
And lest your knees grow feeble and your heart 
faint, lest necessity felt and feared daunt you. Him- 
self hath given you this assurance — "I care for 
you — I am with you — I ivill care for you and be 
with you, never leaving, never forsaking." 

Yes, children of the heavenly King, you who 
are journeying homeward to your Father's courts, 
there is no season, there is no circumstance, there 
is no place, but He careth for you: hovering 


around you as tlie eagle over her young, watching 
you as the good shepherd his flock, encircling you, 
as the hills are around Jerusalem, loving you more 
tenderly than doth the mother her nursing child. 

We shall never forget the wistful look of the 
young soldier, as he sat listening to his last ser- 
mon, nor his tearful acknowledgement of the com- 
fort these words of assurance gave ; remarking 
that we, who enjoyed these privileges all the time, 
could not half appreciate them, nor know how to 
sympathize with the poor fellows in the army who 
had no Sunday. 

The last Sunday evening was spent, as so many 
Sunday evenings in other days had been spent, in 
singing old familiar hymns. The parting hymn 
was, by mutual consent, the favorite hymn of a 
sister, now in glory : 

" Be still my heart, these anxious cares 
To thee are burdens, thorns and snares ; 
They cast dishonor on thy Lord, 
And contradict his gracious word. 

« Brought safely by his hand thus far, 
Why wilt thou now give place to fear? 
How canst thou want, if He provide, 
Or lose thy way with such a guide ? 

" Though rough and thorny be the road, 
It leads thee home, apace, to God ; 
Then count thy present trials small, 
For heaven will make amends for all." 

The next two days, our last together before the 
great sliadow fell upon us, were bright and beauti- 


ful, and that lovely region lay bathed in the sub- 
dued golden light of our autumnal glory. We 
were out upon the lake, or wandering through the 
woods gathering wild flowers and the gorgeously 
tinted leaves of the forest, or clamberuig up cHffs, 
and he and a younger brother made the woods ring 
with their peals of laughter and snatches of songs. 
It was the holiday after the long weary school 
days — the buoyant sparkling spirit mellowed, not 
destroyed, by the faith of the Christian. 

These last scenes linger in the memory and stir 
among the heart-strings of those who loved him. 

He mounted his horse in the morning, just as 
the sun was tipping the hills with gold. We 
watched his graceful figure as he rode down the 
winding road — caught a last glimpse as he passed 
over the brow of a hill — one wave of the hand- 
kerchief and he was gone, and we saw him not 
again till he was brought home wounded from the 
field of battle. 

Washington, October 2, 1864. 

My dear Papa : — I have just received my very 
" honorable discharge " from the service of the United 
States, upon an application of my own on the ground of 
more than three years service. The order will be 
issued to-morrow, and I shall leave for New York to- 
morrow evening. 

My reason for leaving the service at this time, you 

know All my fi'iends say that I have done a 

very foolish thing, and perhaps I have, but I have deter- 
mined after much jDrayerful consideration, and have tried 

to do what was best. I hope you will approve 

I am assured here that I can obtain a command at any 


time, so if everything goes right, and the country needs 
me, I can return by and by 

God willing, I will see you Tuesday, when we can 
talk matters over. I shall go to Albany Tuesday night, 
after which I shall return to the army for a day or two 
to bid my command farewell 

Love to all. I am terribly blue at the step I have 
taken. Your loving son, Howard. 

Washixgtox, October 4, 1864. 

My dear Papa : — I wrote you day before yesterday, 
that I had received my discharge from the service by 
reason of more than three years service. 

I made all my arrangements to go home last night, 
but when I went to the War Dej^artment yesterday 
morning, the Secretary of War revoked the order, and 
ordered me to report immediately with my command to 
General Sheridan. 

It is a terrible disappointment to me, for I had strug- 
gled with myself very hard ever since my return, to 
decide whether I ought to be discharged at this time, and 
having made up my mind that it was my duty, and the 
order having been issued, it cut me terribly to have it 
revoked. It puts me in the position of a man who tried 

to get out of the service, but could not I cannot 

learn where my command is, but presume it is near 
Staunton by this time. I intended to leave for Harper's 
Ferry this morning, but could not get transportation for 
my horse. I shall leave to-morrow morning. I shall 
have a nice little ride of one hundred and sixty miles 
through a country full of guerrillas, after leaving Har- 
per's Ferry. What command I shall have, or what I 

shall do when I get there, I cannot tell yet I 

shall take no baggage to the field this time ; shall leave 
all my books, papers, and other things at the Metropoli- 
tan Hotel here, so if you should want them at any time 
you will know where to find them I have but 


little time and cannot write to any one else now. Give 

my dearest love to all the loved ones God bless 

you all. Yours lovingly, Howard. 

Head-quarters Provisional Division, Harper's Ferry, ) 

October 6, 1864. ) 

Dear Papa : — I arrived here yesterday noon, and 
instead of being permitted to go on at once to my com- 
mand, was placed in command of all troops arriving 
here on their way to General Sheridan. 

There are about three thousand here now, belonging 
to the Sixth, Eighth, and Nineteenth Army corps ; rep- 
resenting every regiment in those corps, and all sorts of 
officers. I am now getting them armed and organized 
as quickly as possible, and as soon as I get about four 
thousand I shall i^ush on for Sheridan. I have organ- 
ized two brigades and hope to get off on Saturday or 

Sunday My head-quarters are on a high bluff 

above the Shenandoah ; prettily located, but cold and 
damp, nevertheless 

Head-quarters Provisional Division, Harper's Ferry, ) 

October 9, 1864. ) 

My DARLING Louise: — Your dear precious letter 
has been read over and over again, and would have been 
answered at once, but that, as you probably know, I 
have been so very busy, and so uncertain where I was 
going or what I was going to do, that I have not writ- 
ten to any one, save a few words to H and papa to 

let you know of my whereabouts and safety. 

For two days in Washington I considered myself out 
of the service, and was making all my arrangements ac- 
cordingly, expecting to be with you all in a day or so, 
when an order was issued revoking my discharge. 

True to my determination expressed to you, as soon 
as I reached Washington, I applied for my honorable 
discharge on the ground of more than three years ser- 


vice ; but you see that we soldiers are not permitted to 
return to our families even when our term of service ex- 
pires. However, I am trying to think that it is all for 
the best, although it is a terrible disappointment to me, 
once having made up my mind to do it, and that it was 
my duty. 

When I reached here on my way to the front, Gen- 
eral Stevenson placed me in command of this division or- 
ganizing for General Sheridan, and I have been working 
day and night to get them clothed, armed and equipped, 
ready for the field. I have three brigades, about two 
thousand each, and having been obliged to make up a 
staff temporarily of the officers as I found them, all 
strangers, you can imagine that I have had to do consid- 
erable work unaided. The command is all ready for the 
field and I have just issued marching orders for to-mor- 
row morning. I hope to reach Strasburg Wednesday 

My future is of course very uncertain. I cannot tell 

what T^ shall do until I get to the front 

My visit home was one of the pleasantest that I have 
had. Unfortunately, you and I had no opportunity of 

seeing much of each other The truth is, darling, 

I was very much worried and troubled while at home. 
I don't mean unhappy, but anxious and puzzled to know 
what was best to do. You know I have a great re- 
sponsibility, for a young man. All the time I was home 
I was cogitating over the step that I took when I 
reached Washington, and it involved so many important 
considerations that I was much exercised to know what 
to do. It was useless to ask for advice at home, upon 
that particular point, for I knew that a desire to have 

me at home would render home judgment partial 

Here I am in an old half worn tent, no baojoraore, blank- 
ets laid on the grass, the weather as cold as winter ; sur- 
rounded by strangers, holding a temporary command in 
which I can take but little interest, and with my future 


more uncertain than ever before. All this, after antici- 
pating a winter spent with H and my boy. 

But I am trying to think that good will result from it, 
although I cannot see it yet. I get fearfully blue and 
discouraged at times, but you and I know where to go 
at such times, darling ! Were it not for the comfort 
and encouragement that we receive from above, I do not 
know what I should do under some of the bitter dis- 
appointments which I have suffered This has 

not been like Sunday, for I have been so occupied all 
day getting clothes and shoes for my men. How I 
long for Sundays at home. 

Good-by, my darling sister. Thank you again for 
your sweet sympathizing letters. Write me whenever 
you can. Give my best love to dear Theodore, and be- 
lieve me, my darling, as ever, 

Your truly loving brother, Howard. 

Harper's Ferry, October 9, 1864. 

Dear Papa : — I am still here, not having yet com- 
pleted the equipment of my division. I expect to move 
for Winchester to-mori*ow morning. I am very busy. 
We were at work all night last night, drawing and issu- 
ing arms and clothing. 

My old brigade arrived at Martinsburg on Friday, 
and will return to the front with me. I have ordered 
them to leave Martinsburg on Tuesday morning and 
meet me at Bunker Hill, so I shall take about seven 
thousand men to Sheridan. I learn this morning that 
Sheridan has retired to Strasburg, but do not know how 
reliable the information is. He has not had a fight, but 
sim23ly fallen back voluntarily, after destroying the wheat 

in the valley I have not heard a word from 

home since leaving Washington. I fear my letters have 

gone to the front I trust you are all well. My 

best love to all. Your lo\Tng son, 



The marks in his pocket hymn-book show that 
he found solace in these dark days in these beauti- 
ful lines of J. H. Newman : — 

"I will lead them in paths they have not known." —Is. xlii. 16. 
« Lead, Saviour lead, amid the encirding gloom 
Lead thou me on : 
The night is dark, and I am far from home, 

Lead thou me on. 
Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see 
The distant scene — one step enough for me.. 

" I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou 
Should'st lead me on ; 
I loved to choose and see my path, but now 

Lead thou me on. 
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, 
Pride ruled my will ; remember not past years. 

" So^long thy power hath blessed me — sure it still 

Will lead me on. 
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till 

The night is gone. 
And, with the morn, those angel-faces smile ^ 
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile." 


" Soon and forever the work shall be done, 
The warfare accomplished, the victory won ; 
Soon and forever the soldier lay down 
The sword for a harp, the cross for a crown.' 


" The night is far spent, the day is at hand." — Rom. xiii. 12. 

Sheridak's army, flushed with repeated victo- 
ries, lay quietly but strongly posted on the bank 
of Cedar Creek. 

At early dawn on the morning of the 19th of 
October, the light so dim, struggling through a 
dense fog, that they could scarce distinguish friend 
fronir^oe, the rebels startled them from their slum- 
bers, with a fiendish yell, sweeping through the 
camp in overwhelming numbers. The surprise 
was complete. Colonel Kitching had barely time 
to buckle on his sword, seize his pistols, and mount 
his horse. Having only one battalion of his own 
regiment, he succeeded, after an almost hopeless 
effort, in rallying his men, and held an important 
road for several hours, until nine out of eleven of 
his officers were either killed or wounded. 

One color-sergeant after another was shot down, 
and his troops were giving way before a wild 
onslaught, when Major Jones, who was greatly 
beloved by the regiment, fell mortally wounded. 
Howard Kitching spurred forward and called out, 
" Stop men, you will not let Jones be made a pris- 


oner ! " They rallied to a raan, and stood their 
ground until their major was safely carried to the 
rear. We have heard Howard tell, with tears, how 
many brave young fellows lost their lives in the 
rescue of an officer they loved so well. 

Just here it was, that a young color-sergeant was 
carried by, his life-blood ebbing fast away. With 
a sad but radiant face he looked up and said, 
'' Colonel, I did the best I could ! " 

Colonel Kitching then reported in person to 
Major-general Wright, connnanding the army, 
asking to be assigned to some command, where he 
could be of most service. The order he received 
was, " that he should rally the troops wherever he 
should find them," so as to delay the advance of 
the enemy, mitil a position should be found where 
they could make a stand. 

With all the dash and energy of his character, 
he addressed himself to the difficult duty. He 
spurred among the disordered soldiery, and his 
clear musical voice rang out over the wild scene, 
as he called to them to " fall in." They soon be- 
gan to rally around him and contend for every foot 
of ground. But the enemy was in overwhelming 
numbers, and the command was driven as far as 
the Creek, which they found blockaded by the 
baggage trains. 

He succeeded by his influence and unwearied 
efforts in securing the passage of the wagons. 
Once across the stream the panic-struck stragglers 
began to rush to the rear. Again his voice was 


heard above the din and confusion, the roar of 
musketry, and the mingled shouts of battle. In 
the midst of this wild tumult, facing the enemv, 
a minie ball crashed through his foot. Wearied 
and wounded he still sat his horse, and gave his 
orders, though now in subdued tones. He was 
again and again urged to leave the field, but re- 
fused until the army had taken a position where 
they might repel any attack of the enemy. At 
this moment it was that General Sheridan rode up 
to the front, and gave new life to the troops by the 
magnetism of his presence. 

Satisfied that all was right now, he directed 
Captain Donaldson to accompany him to try and 
find a surgeon to dress his wound. Growing 
fainter and fainter from loss of blood and suffering, 
he was yet compelled to ride for nearly four miles 
to the rear, before he could obtain assistance. 
They then found an assistant surgeon, belonging 
to one of the cavalry regiments, to dress the wound, 
which was discovered to be so serious, that he ad- 
vised the wounded officer to be carried in an ambu- 
lance to where he could obtain medical treatment 
without delay. 

The ambulances came rumbling by in rapid suc- 
cession, but were all filled with wounded men, and 
Colonel Kitching was unwilling to have any poor 
fellow disturbed to make room for him. A 
stretcher was then made of a piece of shelter tent 
and pine poles, and with the help of some strag- 
glers he was carried several weary miles. But this 


mode of transportation proved so painful, and as 
Howard was growing weaker and weaker, an 
ambulance, containing a poor soldier, mortally 
wounded, was stopped, and he was placed beside 
him, and so they reached Winchester. 

Suffering as he was, he did not allow himself to 
be driven to the head-quarters of General Edwards 
until he had seen his wounded comrade safely and 
comfortably cared for in the hospital. 

While waiting an examination of his wound in 
this dreary place, — a bare room, crowded to suffo- 
cation with wounded and d3dng officers, — the news 
was received of Sheridan's brilliant attack, and the 
total rout of the enemy. Howard looked up from 
his couch of suffering and exclaimed, " If tliis be 
true, I should be willing to lose another leg." 
The ball was safelv extracted, but the surg-eon 
advised that he should be removed away from 
these sad scenes, and where he could feel the sun- 
shine of loving faces, and be nursed by loving 

The brave young soldier had fought his last 
battle, his active work was done — it had been 
nobly done. He had yet to pass through the 
harder fight of patient suffering ere the hour of 
victory came. 


The way is dark, my Father ! Cloud on cloud 
Is gathering thickly o'er my head, and loud 
The thunders roar above me. See, I stand 
Like one bewildered ! Father, take my hand, 

And through the gloom 

Lead safely home 
Thy child ! 

The day goes fast, my Father ! and the night 
Is drawing darkly down. My faithless sight 
Sees ghostly visions. Fears, a spectral band, 
Encompass me. O Father ! take my hand, 
_ And from the night 

Lead up to light 
Thy child ! 

The way is long, my Father! and my soul 
Longs for the rest and quiet of the goal ; 
White yet I journey through this weary land. 
Keep me from wandering. Father, take my hand ; 

Quickly and straight 

Lead to heaven's gate 
Thy child ! 

The way is dark, my child ! but leads to light. 
I would not always have thee walk by sight. 
My dealings now thou canst not understand. 
I meant it so ; but I will take thy hand, 

And through the ijlooni 

Lead safely home 
My ihild ! 

The day goes fast, my child ! But is the night 
Darker to me than day ? In me is light ! 
Keep close to me, and every sj)ectral band 
Of fears shall vanish. I will take thy hand. 

And throuijh the nisxht 

Lead up to light 
My child ! 

The way is long, my child ! But it shall be 

Not one step longer than is best for thee ; 

And thou shalt know, at last, when thou shalt 

Safe at the goal, how I did take thy hand, 
And quick and straight 
Lead to heaven's gate 
My child ! 



" There came a cloiul, and overshadowed them: and they feared as 
they entered into the cloud. 

" And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my be- 
loved Son: hear him." — St. Luke ix. 34, 35. 

A TELEGRAPHIC dispatch from General Sheri- 
dan, on Thursday, October 20, announced '' Victo- 
ry in the Valley." " We have again been favored 
by great victory — a victory won from disaster by 
the gallantry of our officers and men." .... "I 
have to regret the loss of many valuable officers 
killed and wounded ; among them Colonel Joseph 
Thorburn, killed; Colonel J. Howard Kitching, 
wounded ; Colonel R. G. McKenzie, wounded se- 
verely but would not leave the field." 

A few hours later came a telegram from How- 
ard, saying that he was only wounded slightly, 
would come home as soon as possible. 

The first painful shock soon gave way to a feel- 
ing of intense relief and thankfulness that the pre- 
cious life was spared — and in the hours of suspense 
that followed, we tried to believe that this, too, 
might be a blessing in disguise ; a slight wound 
that would give him back to us again, and keep 
him safe from further danger. 


We were ill prepared for the sad surprise tliat 
awaited us. We went on in the night train, reach- 
ing Baltimore an hour after midnight. With beat- 
ing hearts and noiseless steps, we sought his room, 
anticipating a jo}^ul meeting. A tall figure started 
up from the darkness at the door of his room. 

" O, 'dis de Colonel's sister ! Glad to see you, 
Miss Louise. Massa Fred, too. De doctor say if 
you come, you not to be let in — de Colonel too 
bad to see anybody." 

We sat in the darkness with the faithful negro, 
and waited. Presently his father, who had reached 
Baltimore by a previous train, came to us, and 
from him we learned how Howard's thoughtful 
love had dictated the telegram on the battle-field, 
to save us the shock of knowing the truth at once. 
There was reason enough for our deepest anxiety. 

We left Baltimore early in the morning. His 
surgeon, and his faithful friend, Captain Donald- 
son, watched over him with the tenderness of 
brothers. Everything was done ^hat could be 
done to alleviate the suffering of that weary jour- 

The President of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail- 
road had most kindly prepared an entire car for 
our use — having the seats removed, and every 
possible arrangement made which could add in any 
way to our comfort, personally superintending 
everything, that there might be no confusion or 

Most touching was the respect and thoughtful 


kindness manifested throughout the day. While 
we stood around the stretcher at the station, trying 
to shield him from the cold mnd, an Irish woman 
with a baby in her arms looked over his sister's 
shoulder. Seeing the still rosy cheeks, and bright 
curls, she wiped away the tears with the corners 
of her apron, and said, " Och, an its dreadful! 
such a lovely young man as that ! '' and then whis- 
pered - Has he a mother ? O, an it 's the pity for 
her, poor thing." 

All day long there were whispered questions, 
and words of sympathy — cologne water, and fruits 
and other httle delicacies offered. Two or three 
times a fellow-traveller would come beside him 
with a cheery, hopeful word — some allusion to the 
glorious victory of the day before — once or twice 
a " G^d bless you. Colonel ! you are suffering m a 
glorious cause." 

May He who has promised never to forget " the 
cup of cold water," abundantly reward every lov- 
ing look and word that sent a ray of sunshine 
through the gloom of that dark day. 

At a late hour, Saturday night, we reached the 
Metropolitan hotel. New York, where his mother 
was waiting his arrival. 

When Howard saw her anxious, paUid face 
bending over him as he lay exhausted upon his 
stretcher, he looked up with a bright smile, and 
forgetting his sufferings, with a cheery voice, tried 
in every way to allay her fears and give her hope 

for the future. 



We draw a veil over the weeks that followed — 
days and nights of weary suffering, with no mo- 
ment of relief or rest. '' I tell you what, darling," 
he said suddenly one night, '' this is a great deal 
harder work than marching, or lighting, either ! " 

The strength and endurance that had been 
proved on many a battle-field, many a weary night 
march, and in the scorching heat of the deadly 
rifle-pits, was to be put to still severer test, before 
the final victory. 

His sister said, '' It is always a great deal harder 
to suffer than to Avork. It requires more grace ; 
and therefore, I suppose, we can glorify the Lord 
a great deal more by patient endurance than by 
active service. At any rate, darling, you have the 
promise, ' My grace is sufficient for thee.' " 

" Yes," he said, " it always has been." 

Then they talked for a little while of the mean- 
ing of that familiar word, " a soldier of Christ," 
how little they had ever before realized its depth 
of meaning — all that it implied of single-hearted 
devotion, implicit obedience, entire self-sacrifice. 
How little we knew as Christians, of that readi- 
ness to suffer any hardships, endure any privation, 
counting no sacrifice too great, even life itself, in 
0U7' glorious cause. 

The " Silent Comforter " was hung where the 
first rays of morning light would fall upon it, 
and often after a weary night of suffering, the 
text for the day seemed manna from heaven — the 
very portion his soul required — a fresh draught 


from the Fountain of Living Waters. Many a 
sweet talk we had at early dawn, when his eye first 
rested on the words of comfort and peace. 

On the fourteenth of November, at Yonkers, his 
little daughter was born. When the first agitation 
of hearing the tidings was passed, he whispered,. 
" O, isn't it a blessing ? I am so thankful. Now 

H will have a dear little daughter to comfort 

her when I am gone." Then first we knew that 
he thought his recovery doubtful — and although 
we tried in every way to reassure him, increasing 
weakness, and other alarming symptoms, convinced 
us that there was reason enough for his forebodings. 
That evening, the surgeons, in consultation, de- 
cided that amputation could no longer be post- 
poned without endangering his life. The decision 
was told him, tenderly and cheerfully, with many 
assurances of his speedy recovery. He talked 
with the surgeons, in his usual calm, courteous way, 
but when they were gone and the room was still, 
we saw that the shadow was still upon his heart ; 
it darkened over us all -^ we could not but think 
perhaps it was the shadow of death. 

The physicians decided that a day must elapse, 
to try by stimulants to revive his failing strength. 
It was a day of clouds and darkness. Reduced by 
pain and long confinement, his nervous system was 
utterly unstrung, and his courage and fortitude 
gave way. It seemed impossible for him to become 
quite reconciled to the loss of his foot. His natural 
dread of the operation was very great, and many 


times he said, he must beg the surgeon to try to 
save it, evidently fearing that it might be sacri- 
ficed to save prolonged suffering. 

The night before the operation the shadow of 
thick darkness was over the weary one. He was 
restless and feverish and faint with anxiety and 
pain. The enemy of souls was on the watch at 
such an hour. His mother tried to soothe and lull 
him to sleep, by repeating familiar hymns and Bible 
verses. At length, as if cpiitc unable to repress 
the ;igony of feeling, he stretched out his arms and 
drawing her down close beside him, resting his face 
against hers, he burst into tears, saying " O I 
mamma ! darling, it is of no use. I believe Jesus 
Himself has forsaken me. I have been such a sin- 
ner. I am so wretched. I cannot come up to the 
dreadful to-morrow. I am so weak, so miserable. 
And then as if recollecting himself, he added, 
" Mamma, dear, you know I am no coward, I never 
was afraid to do my duty, but I am so sick." 

His mother souMit to calm him bv reminding: him 
of Jesus' power and love, and dwelling on the un- 
changeableness of Him, whose promise runs, '' Him 
that cometh unto me, I will in nowise cast out." 

In desponding tones he said : " O ! He has for- 
saken me, I cannot pray." 

Again she who sat beside him, reminded him of 
Christ's faithfulness and the unfailing nature of 
the promises, and repeated those blessed words 
" Fear not : for I have redeemed thee, I have 
called thee by thy name ; thou art mine." For a 


few moments the cloud lingered on his pale face 
but a sweet smile chased it away, the enemy was 
beaten back, and kissing his mother, he said with 
I quiet, assured voice, " That is so. What would I 
ever have done without you, mamma ! " 

In the morning of that sad day, the following 
note, from one he loved, was read to him : 

Tuesday Evening, November 15, 18G4. 

^Iy dearest Howard : — Though not present with 
you to-morrow, I shall be with you in spirit and in the 
fellowship of the Holy Ghost, very near to you, as at 
the mercy seat I ask the Lord to give you grace and 
strength and sunshine, in what seems a dark passage. 

Tlie earnest prayers from so manV lovinir hearts. <Toinsr 
\x\) for you now, will bring a blessing, and you will yet 
see love, the tenderest love, written all over this trial. 

Do not worry your mind or heart with misgivings 
about-the past, or present, or future. Look away from 
Imman instrumentalities altogether, and believe that 
every circumstance is ordered by Him who watches the 
falling of a sparrow. Leave everything with the dear 
Lord who has made you his own dear child, and lie in 
his arms quietly and listen to those sweet words of his, 
we read together this morning. " Let not your heart be 
troubled ; ye believe in God, believe also in me. Peace 
I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Let not 
your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." 

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. The Lord 
make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto 
thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and 
give thee peace, both now and evermore. 

AVith deepest love and tenderest sympathy yours, 

It was thought advisable to remove Howard to 
another room before the amputation, that entire 


chancre of scene and fresher air, niiorht enable him 
to sliake off the low fever which was wasting his 

A cheerful, sunny room was prepared for him 
— everything made to look as bright and pleasant 
as possible — but it was a very sad, weary face that 
looked around upon it all. His eye rested upon 
the text his mutlier had hung opposite the bed. 
*' When thou passest througli the waters, I will 
be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall 
not overflow thee. When thou walkest through 
the fire thou shall not be burned, neither shall the 
flame kindle upon ,thee ; for I am the Lord thy 
God^ the Holy One of Israel^ thy Saviour.^' 

" Fear not ; I will not fail nor forsake thee." 
With such a look of surprise he said, ••' O mamma, 
what a comfort ! that that should be the text for 
to-day. It seems almost like Jesus speaking ; '' 
but there was not the look of peace and quiet 
trust we longed to see. We felt that there was a 
dark shadow on his heart. The moment he was 
left alone with his sister, he grasped her hand, and 
with a look of intense anxiety and distress, said, 
" Darhng, if I die this morning, do you think I 
can be saved ? " After a moment's silent prayer 
she said, — 

" Why Howy, I have no more doubt of it than 
that you and I are here now." 

" O, that is because you don't know. You don't 
know anvthins: about what a sinner I have been. 
You think I have been good, but I have not. I 



have been cbeadfuUy wicked; if you knew, you 
wouldn't think I could be saved at all." 

" O, Howy, after Jesus has been yoiu' precious 
Saviour all these years, you are not going to dis- 
trust Him now! You know his blood cleanseth 
from all sin. However you have wandered, He is 
so glad to receive you back again — He will forgive 

it aiir 

He shook his head sadly. " No, L , not 

such sins as mine, — you don't know." 

She said, "• My darling — this is Satan's work. 
He always comes at just such times, to torment us 
with our sins, and keep us from looking to Jesus. 
Whatever you have been, Jesus is ready to receive 
you now, and forgive you freely. He says " Him 
that Cometh unto me, I will in noivise cast out:' 

'' But it was so dreadful in me — I will tell you 
— and then you will know. That morning, you 
know, at Cedar Creek, when the rebels rushed 
through my camp — it was awful — we could 
hardly tell friend from foe. I had only a few of 
my own men, all those mixed regiments — they 
didn't know me, and I could not manage them like 
my own brigade. I tried every way to rally them. 
We were making a desperate stand, when some 
teamsters and other fellows came rushing across 
the field, enough to make a panic — and an oath 
escaped me ! " 

His friend Captain Donaldson had come in and 
sat down beside him. '' Donny," said he, " did 
you ever hear me swear before ? " 
" Never, Colonel." 


'' It was dreadful, — I don't know how I could 
have done it — it must have been Satan — but I 
was so excited," and again came the eager whisper, 
'' Do you really think Jesus can forgive that? " 

*' But you know, Howy, ' The blood of Jesus 
Christ cleanseth from all sin.' Suppose that you 
have never loved Jesus at all — never tried to 
serve Him — have sinned against Him all your 
life. You are a poor miserable sinner — you can- 
not do a thing to save yourself. Now it was for 
just such sinners that Jesus died. St. Paul said, 
' It is a faithful saying, Jesus Christ came into the 
world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.' If 
you are the chief of sinners, then Jesus died to save 
you. He will save you, now. ' ]My sheep shall 
never pe)Hsh^ ne'itlier shall any pluck them out of 
my hand.'" 

They Avere interrupted by the arrival of the sur- 
geons ; but as his sister stooped to kiss him, there 
was one more eager question, " You really think 
I'm safe ? " and a quiet look of peace came over 
his face. " Well, then, I'll trust Him." 

Two hours of terrible suspense and we were 
again watching beside him, waiting for returning 
consciousness. At length he looked around upon 
us, with such a bewildered look, and then the 
sweet bright smile came back, as his sister said, 
" Do you know me, darhng ? " 

" O, yes, L , I always know you^ 

'' Well," she said, pointing to the text, " you 
see it was all true ! The Lord has kept his prom- 


" Yes," he spoke slowly and with difficulty, 
^'-He always does. He 's so good." 

The peace which shone in that bright, quiet 
smile, '' kept his heart and mind " in Christ Jesus, 
unto the eijd. 

Howard did not rally, as we had hoped, after 
the amputation. The low fever which had hung 
about him from the beginning of his illness devel- 
oped typhoid symptoms, and day by day his 
strength wasted, until hope almost died from our 

His sufferings at this time were intense. Utterly 
prostrated with fever, not a moment's rehef from 
pain, rarely able to sleep more than three minutes 
at a time — no wonder that he wearily longed for 


" It seems so strange," he said ; '' I used to 
throw myself right down on the ground, sometimes 
the rain pelting down on me, and sleep hke a top. 
Now, I would give anything for half an hour's sleep, 
and can't get it." 

" Tlioxi boldest mine eyes waking," said one who 
w^atched beside him. " You know, wearisome days 
and nights are appointed^ 

'' Yes, I know. I do try so hard to be patient ; 
but I am so weary." 

Only those who watched through the weary 
days and nights, whose aching hearts cried in the 
morning, " Would God it were evening," and in 
the evening, '' Would God it were morning," 
could know how patiently he endured —how ten- 


derly watchful he was of those who nursed liim ; 
how often, with the sweet kiss and earnest lovinir 
thanks for some little relief afforded, came the 
tearful words, '' It is such a comfort — but you will 
all be worn out. If I could only do without 

On the night of the 25th of November, a wicked 
attempt was made by some emissaries from the 
South, to fire the city of New York. By a con- 
certed plan nearly all the large hotels of the city 
were fired at the same hour. 

We were watching in the stillness of the night 
in the sick room, anxious lest a step or a word 
should disturb the quiet, and entirely unconscious 
of the excitement in the streets, no sound of 
alarm having reached us. 

Suddenly the door opened softly, and without a 
word the faithful negro walked in with the Colo- 
nel's stretcher, put it down beside the bed, and in 
a moment had spread blankets and pillows upon 
it ; then stood beside it like a dark sentinel. 

We saw in a moment what it all meant. Al- 
most overwhelmed with fear of the consequences 
of such excitement, and exposure to the cold, we 
whispered " Pete, is our hotel on fire ? " Raising 
his finger warningly he said, " Yes, Miss, right 
smart ! Don't tell de Colonel ! Four gentlemen's 
waitin' outside de door — and we jest carry him 
out when de time comes, and not disturb him a 

But to our surprise, Howard raised his head from 


the pillows, looked down at the stretcher, and then 
with such a bright smile and little nod to his ser- 
vant, said, " All right, Pete : you're a good fellow ; " 
then to us, " Now don't be frightened, darhngs I we 
can manage first-rate. Where 's mamma ? " And 
as she came in, pale with excitement, he reached 
out his hand to her, and drew her close beside him 
with protecting tenderness, talking so brightly and 
cheerfully, as if his were the strong arm that was 
to rescue us all. 

As we w^atched his bright eye and the quiet 
tone of command that seemed to come mtli the 
emergency, one said, ^' Why, Howard, I believe if 
you could command your regiment, and lead them 
into battle, it would make you well ! " His eye 
brightened, and strength seemed to come with the 
very thought, as he said, " I really believe it would ! 
If I could only mount my horse." 

Throuerh the lovin^r kindness of the Lord, we 
were spared the necessity of leaving the room. 
The fire was extinguished mth very little difficulty, 
and though it was a night of excitement and alarm, 
as tidings came of the fire breaking out in one 
hotel after another, and anxious men walked the 
streets all night, the quiet of the sick room was not 
again disturbed. 

On the first of December Howard was removed 
to Yonkers. His physicians hoped that entire 
change of scene, with the fresh air of the country, 
and the comfort of having his wife and little chil- 
dren, would enable him to rally, and break up the 
fever that seemed wasting away his life. 


He bore tlie journey well. " The fresh air was 
so delicious,'" he said, " that he did not even mind 
the jolting of the ambulance over the stones." 

But the next day was one of excessive exhaus- 
tion. His mother, and others who had been watch- 
ing with him, quite worn out, had been obliged to 
return home for a day of rest, and his sister was 
left alone with him. She writes : — 

" It was a sweet, sad day. Howard seemed very ill ; 
and when he said to me so quietly and decidedly, " Dar- 
ling. I shall never be well again I " my heart contradicted 
the cheerful tones with which I strove to encourage him, 
and draw bright pictures of happy days to come. 

" We had many a little quiet talk that day ; the 
* peace that passeth understanding,' seemed to pervade 
the very atmosphere of the room ; and as evening drew 
on, though his increasing weakness startled me, he was 
unwilling to have the family summoned. 

" ' In the stillness and the starlight, 
In sight of the Blessed Land, 
We thought of the by -gone Desert-hfe, 
And the burning, blinding sand. 

" ' Many a dreary sunset. 
Many a dreary dawn. 
We had watched upon those desert hiUs 
As we pressed slowly on. 

" ' Yet sweet had been the silent dews 
Which from God's presence fell, 
And the still hours of resting 
Bv Palm tree and bv well. 


« ' We were talking about our King, 
And our elder Brother, 
As we were used often to speak 
One to another. 

" ' The Lord standing quietly by. 
In the shadows dim. 
Smiling, perhaps, in the dark, to hear 
Our sweet, sweet talk of Him. 

" ' " I think in a little while," 
I said at length, 
" We shall see His face in the city 
Of everlasting strength ; 

« ' " And sit down under the shadow 
Of His smile, 
With great delight and thanksgiving 
To rest awhile." 

" ' I knew by His loving voice 
His kingly word. 
The veiled Guest in the starlight dim 
Was Christ, the Lord ! 

« ' I could hear that the Lord was speaking 
Deep words of grace ; 
I could see their blessed reflection 
On his sweet, pale face.' " 

Towards midnight be sank so rapidly that the 
family were hastily summoned, but the fearful 
crisis passed, he fell mto a sweet sleep, and the 
morning dawned upon brighter hope. 

Days and nights of suffering were yet in store ; 
faith and patience had not yet their perfect work ; 


there were lessons still to learn in " the fellowship 
of the sufferings of Christ." 

One night, long after midnight, when he seemed 
perfectly Avorn out with pain and fever, and a 
racking cough that gave him scarcely a moment's 
rest, one who watched him, took up a book of 
hymns that lay upon the table, in hope of some 
word of comfort and strength to soothe the restless 
questionings of her aching heart. The book opened 
to a hymn, which seemed an answer to all unbelief, 
an echo to that loving, half-reproachful question, 
" Jle that spared not His own Son^ but delivered Ilim 
up for us all, how shall He not with Him also 
freely give us all things ? " 

" Birds have their quiet nest, 
Foxes their holes, mid man his peaceful bed ; 

All creatures have their rest, — 
But Jesus had not ivhere to lay His head. 

'' Winds have their hour of calm, 
And waves, to slumber on the voiceless deep ; 

Eve hath its breath of balm. 
To hush all senses and all sounds to sleep. 

"■ The wild deer hath his lair, 
The homeward flocks the shelter of their shed ; 

All have their rest from care, — 
But Jesus had not where to lay his head. 

" And yet He came to give 
The weary and the heavy-laden rest ; 

To bid the sinner live, 
And soothe our ffriefs to slumber on his breast. 


" What then am I, my God, 
Permitted thus the paths of peace to tread? 

Peace, purchased by the blood 
Of Him who had not where to lay His head ? 

" I , who once made Him grieve ; 
I, who once bade His gentle spirit mourn ; 

Whose hand essayed to weave 
For His meek brow the cruel crown of thorns : — 

" O why should I have peace ? 
Why ? but for that unchanged, undying love, 

Which would not, could not cease, 
Until it made me heir of joys above. 

" Yes ! bui for pardoning grace, 
I feel I never should in glory see 

The brightness of that face, 
That once was pale and agonized for me ! " 

No sound broke the stillness, and his sister 
thought the sweet hymn had soothed liim to sleep. 
An hour later, he suddenly exclaimed in such a 

tone of real distress, "- O, L ! both hands and 

both feet ! " Thinking he must be suffering in- 
tensely, she said, " Why, darling, are you so much 
worse ? I thought you were asleep." 

" O, no," he said, his eyes filled with tears. 
" Jesus — how could he endure it ? Both hands and 
both feet ! and all for us, too ! " 

Then he told her how often he had thought 
that the pain in his lacerated foot must have been 
the same kind of pain that Jesus suffered ; how 
his own suffering, even with all the alleviations of 
our loving care, had made him think more and 


more of the dread mystery of that death upon the 
cross ; the hiding of the Father's countenance ; 
the taunts and jeers of the multitude, all the 
fearful circumstances of that fearful day. It was 
too painful to dwell upon, and they Avere glad to 
look up to Jesus glorified, and join the song that 
is evermore ascending " unto Him that loved us, 
and washed us from our sins in His own blood ; 
to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever." 

Howard soon began to improve, and gained 
strength so rapidly that the shadow that had been 
over us so long was quite dispelled, and we looked 
forward without misgiving, to his entire recovery. 
Many a pleasant family gathering we had, around 
his wheel-chair ; amused at his merry stories, re- 
joicing in all the evidences of returning health. 
About this time one of his orderlies, from the 
Sixth Artillery, arrived, in charge of the Colonel's 
horses. Most amusing were the interviews between 
the two ; the little Irishman's humorous replies 
to numberless questions, about all that had trans- 
pired since the Colonel's absence, with occasional 
sly suggestions, from " Pete," who generally sat 
as a shadow, just behind him. Many a cheery 
message was sent back to the regiment, telling 
them that as soon as he could mount his horse, 
he would be with them to lead them in the as- 
sault on Petersburg." 

The week before Christmas was bitterly cold. 
A heavy snow-storm, followed by a keen north 
wind, made us fear that we must give up the 


pleasure we had anticipated of bringing Howard to 
Dobb's Ferry before the holidays. Thursday, the 
twenty-second of December, the cold was intense. 
We were sitting around the fire, thinking the wind 
must have reached its height, when we heard the 
sound of sleigh bells, and a moment after Howard 
drove up to. the door, alone, in a little cutter. 
He was so benumbed with cold, that he could 
neither move nor speak. As quickly as possible, 
he was carried in, and laid upon the sofa, while 
we chafed his hands and face, and wrapped warm 
blankets around him. Pete came in, almost as 
much overcome with the cold as he. A warm 
punch, which had been ordered Howard was 
brought, but he said, "0, that's just the thing 
for Pete ! Drink it quick, Pete, it will warm you 

We insisted that he should take it, for we were 
filled with apprehension ;. and felt that not a mo- 
ment should be lost, and that the strong negro 
man would suffer less from a few minutes delay, but 
our remonstrance was useless. 

"Drink it quick, Pete!" he said. "Why, 
mamma, the poor fellow is almost perished I You 
know they are used to such a warm climate ; he 
never knew what kind of winters we have here 
at the North ; did you, Pete ? " 

We succeeded at last in restoring them both 
to warmth and comfort ; and Howard's joy at be- 
ing once more at home, almost overcame for a 
time, our fear of the result. " Why, mamma," 



he said, " I would liaye driven tliree times as far, 
just to lie here once more, and look around at all 
the dear home things." 

The house was undergoing extensive repairs. It 
was impossible to make him comfortable there, and 
rooms had been prepared for him at the house of 
Mr. A. near by. He did not seem to have suf- 
fered from the exposure as we feared. On Sat- 
urday, the day before Christmas, we brought him 
home again ; had quite a merry little sleigh ride, 
and then all day he lay on the sofa in the little 
sitting-room, " so happy to be really at home." 
" Why, mamma," he said, " you have no idea what 
perfect bliss it is, just to lie here and see you and 
A., and all of you going about just like old times. 
The dear old pictures and easy chairs ! everything 
looks so lovely." 

Our hearts linger around the memory of that 
day. As we sat around him, talking of all the 
pleasant Christmas times that we had passed to- 
gether, and rejoicing in hope of happy days to 
come, no voice whispered that the bright face 
would never make sunshine in our home again ; 
that the loving look with which his eye rested 
on all the familiar home treasures, was a look of 

" You and I will dine together, mamma, to keep 
Christmas ! " So a table was spread beside his 
sofa, and they dined together ; his hearty enjoy- 
ment making it a real Christmas treat to us all. 
Before evening he was suffering much ; but it 


had been " sueh a happy day ! " and as he was 
assisted to the caiTiage many a hngering look 
came back from the threshold, and waving his 
hand with a parting kiss, he said, " I think I'll 
come and spend the day with you every day^ mam- 
ma ! it has been such a treat ! " 

The pain which commenced that evening in- 
creased in severity, and it was soon evident that 
he had taken a violent cold. For a few days we 
did not apprehend serious difficulty. He was able 
to sit up for a while each day, and although suffer- 
ing intensely at times, we all shared his cheerful 
anticipation that he would " be all right in a few 


" A journey like Elijali's swift aiul brin^lit. 
Caught gently ui)wanl to an early crown. 
In heaven's own chariot of unblazing light, 
With death untasted and the grave unknown.' 


" But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our 
Lord Jesus Christ." — 1 Cor. xv. 57. 

The Scriptural lesson for the day, Tuesday the 
tenth of January, was Howard's favorite chapter, 
the 8th of Romans, and its lessons of joyful trust 
were well fitted to cheer him as he was about to 
cross the dark river. 

Those glorious words, the assured confidence of 
the Christian warrior, how meet to be the last his 
eye should ever rest upon this side the valley. 

" Nay, in all these things we are more than con- 
querors through Him that loved us. For I am 
persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, 
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, 
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any 
other creature, shall be able to separate us from 
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our 


Words of light that he could welcome now that 
Satan had long since departed, and the smile of 
Jesus was filling his heart with quietness and 


The inflammation of the wound had increased to 


such a degree, that a slight surgical operation was 

Hearing this, and that his mother was also seri- 
ously ill, we came in haste, from New York, in the 
same train with the surgeon. 

A violent storm was raging. The wind moaned 
drearily through the trees that shut in the house 
from the road. The driving storm without gave a 
deeper hush to his quiet curtained room. 

Howard's face lighted up mth a glow of sur- 
prise and pleasure, as he grasped my hand and 
said: — 

" How good you are to come out in such a storm ! 
I am afraid you will both be sick from such expo- 
sure ! " 

There was only time for a few questions. When 
the preparations were completed, he said " Wait 
a moment, Doctor ! " then drawing his sister close 
down to him, he whispered, " If I should not live 
through this, dearie, you know «<;Ao I have trusted." 
Then repeating the farewell messages she had so 
often before received, for the other loved ones, and 
seeing the tears in her eyes, he said in his bright, 
cheerful tone " but this is only in case I should 
not live. You know the Doctor says there is no 
danger. Now go, darling ! You cannot do me 
any good, you know, and you will suffer more than 
I will." 

He drew her closer for a moment with a linger- 
ing kiss, saying "It will all be over in a few min- 
utes, darling, and we will have such a nice talk 
afterward! " 


Chloroform was administered, and the operation 
performed ahnost instantaneously. A shadow 
passed over his face, then a cabn, bright smile. 
Howard Elitching was " with the Lord," 

" The wistful, longing gaze 
Of the passing soul — 

" Grew only more rapt and joyful 
As he clasped the Master's hand, 
I think, or ever he was aware 

They were come to the Holy Land. 


" safe at home, where the dark tempter roam's not, 
How have I envied thy far happier lot ! 
Abeady resting where the evil comes not, 
The tear, the toil, the woe, the sin, forgot. 

" safe in port, where the rough billow breaks not. 
Where the wild sea-moan saddens thee no more ; 
Where the remorseless stroke of tempest shakes not ; 
When, when shall I too gain that tranquil shore ? 

" bright, amid the brightness all eternal, 

When shall I breathe with thee the purer air? 
Air of a land whose clime is ever vernal, 
A land without a serpent or a snare. 

* Away, above the scenes of guilt and folly, 
Beyond this desert's heat and dreariness, 
Safe in the city of the ever-holy, 

Let me make haste to join thy earlier bliss." 

'f Another battle fought — and O, not lost — 
Tells of the ending of this fight and thrall, 
Another ridge of time's lone moorland crossed. 
Gives nearer prospect of the jasper wall. 

" Just gone within the veil, where I shall follow, 
Not far before me, hardly out of sight — 
I down beneath thee in this cloudy hollow. 
And thou far up on yonder sunny height. 

" Gone to begin a new and happier story, 

Thy bitterer tale of earth now told and done ; 
These outer shadows for that inner glory 
Exchanged forever. O thrice blessed one ! 

" O freed from fetters of this lonesome prison. 
How shall I greet thee on that day of days. 
When He who died, yea rather who is risen. 

Shall these frail frames from dust and darkness raise." 



To all who shall see these presents, Greeting. 

Know ye that I do hereby confer on J. Howard 
Etching, of the U. S. Vohinteers, in the ^;"'«« f *« 
United States, by and with the consent of the Senate, 
the rank of Brigadier-general, by Brevet m said ser- 
It, to rank as °such fi^m the first day o August, m 
Ih? year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
sixty four; for meritorious and distinguished services 
during th; campaign of this year, before Eichmond, 

^ And'l do strictly charge and require all officers and 
soldiers under his command, to obey and respect him 
accord ; and he is to observe and follow such orders 
and diectLs from time to time as he shall receive from 
me, or the future President of the TJmted States of 
America, and other officers set over him accordmg to 
tw and 'the rules and discipline of war. This commis- 
siou to continue in force during the pleasure of the 
President of the United States for the time being. 

Given under my hand, at the city of W-h-gto-, 
this twentieth day of April in the year of om- Lord, 
1: tLusand eighf hundred -d sixty-five - the -gh^^^ 
ninth year of the Independence of the United btates. 

By the President, 

Andrew Johnson. 
Edwin M. Stanton, 
Secretary of War. 


Recorded, — vol. iv. page 20, Adjutant-general's of- 
fice, April 20, 1865. 

U. A. Nichols, 

AssH. Adjutant-general, 

At a meeting of the officers of tlie Sixth Regiment, 
New York Heavy Artillery, held at Camp Defences, of 
Bermuda Hundred, Va., on Monday evening, January 
16, 1865, the followins Preamble and Resolutions were 
unanimously adopted. 

Whereas, Brevet Brigadier-general J. Howard Kitch- 
ing. Colonel of the Sixth Regiment, New York Ar- 
tillery, died on the 10th day of January, 1865, of 
wounds received in the engagement of Cedar Creek, 
Virginia, on the 19th day of October, 1864: There- 

Resolved, That, recognizing the act of our Heavenly 
Father, in thus removing from us our commanding of- 
ficer, we bow submissively to his inscrutable will. 

Resolved, That the character of General Kitching as 
an officer and a gentleman, was such as commanded our 
highest respect and esteem. His qualities as a soldier 
and a leader, whether displayed in the quiet of camp or 
in the storm of battle always secured the earnest con- 
fidence of all. We feel that no one can supply his place 
with us. He died for his country, but his memory will 
ever live in our hearts as that of a good man, a true 
soldier, and a gallant officer. 

Resolved, That to the bereaved family of our de- 
ceased commander we tender our sincere sympathy and 
an earnest prayer that the God of the widow and the 
fatherless may protect and comfort them. 

Resolved, That as a further mark of our respect, the 
officer's of the regiment wear the customary badge of 
mourning for thirty days. 

\ APPENDIX. * 239 

Resolved, That these resolutions be published in the 
New York " Herald," " Times," « Tribune," " Army & 
Navy Journal," and Yonkers " Statesman," also that a 
copy be engrossed, and transmitted to the family of the 

Geo. C. Kibbe, 

Major Sixth N. Y. Artillery, 
Jacob Bowers, 

Lieut. Sixth N. Y. H. A., 

H 12? 80 i 

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